Retailers Hope Smaller Stores, Personalization And Digital Will Stanch The Bleeding

by MR Magazine Staff

The balmy, sunny weather of November and December didn’t translate into sales gains for retailers, many of which blamed weather when reporting fourth quarter earnings declines this week. Faced with falling sales, some brands said they will continue to close underperforming stores. Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based Sears, which saw same-store sales decline 7.2% for its namesake brand and 6.9% for its Kmart brand, plans to shutter at least 50 outposts of its fleet of around 1,650. Stores such as Macy’s and Kohl’s said they are turning to more personalization and rewards for loyal customers as they also focus on digital investments. Gap Inc., which reported a companywide same-store sales decrease of 7% in the fourth quarter, emphasized its future focus on mobile. Chief Executive Art Peck called the strategy a “cultural change” within the company, which reported marketing expenses of $169 million for the quarter, $9 million below the year-earlier period. Read more at Advertising Age.