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[] US Retailers Shift Gear to Perform Better

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Introduction to the Retail IndustryRetail sector is the second largest industry
in U.S., accumulating number of businesses and employees. According to the
government broad measure of retail sales that consists food service, gasoline
sales and automobiles) sales in the U.S. climb nearly 6.6% to $4.16 trillion in
2005, comparing a 3.8% increase in the year 2004. In the last year, retail
industry evolved strongly, due to higher gasoline costs and good discounting
during the Christmas.The elimination of the global textile quota system enforced
industry players to reorganize their businesses again to thrive in a cut-throat
competition in the global apparel market. Last year was significant for the
exporters and retailers, who re-organize to take benefit of the free trade era,
and the best possible exploitation of resources. New initiatives were put in
practice to meet new challenges to give the buyers value-add products at more
competitive prices.As a result, re-arranging the businesses for stiff
competition was also witnessed in the American apparel industry. The sections,
in which retailers focus on more are - better merchandise and inventory
management, consolidating sourcing and more involvement in sourcing the country.
The only reason behind all preparation was for a better market reach with wide
product range.The strategies made into practice last year and plans for growth
in 2006 brought success for leading retailers like: Wal-Mart, Target, Tommy
Hilfiger, JCPenny, Kohl's, Sears Holding, and Gap Inc., are all sourcing
massively from India.Wal-Mart: Success is a result of expansion strategyWal-Mart
is considered the leader in value-added market and currently shifting gears to
offer better products to its customers. The company was offering limited range
in apparel line, but, has introduced the exclusive apparel line, Metr07
collection in Oct 2005. The intention behind launching this collection is to
cater the needs of urban buyers with more styles, featuring feminine touches and
fashionable looks.In a move to provide eco-friendly lines, Wal-Mart has just
launched durable, hygienic, value-added product, the George Baby Organic cotton
clothing line. This would be the first clothing line, for which Wal-Mart is
planning for the coming years.The Wal-Mart management is very optimistic at the
record net sales growth with 9.5 percent to $312.4 billion. 537 new
international stores have been added and the company is going to sustain a trend
this year with more than 600 stores.Currently, Wal-Mart operates 2,285
international stores, sourcing from 70 countries and is looking to enter into
unexploited markets.Wal-Mart Stores Inc operates Wal-Mart discount stores,
super-centers, Neighborhood Markets and SAM'S CLUB locations in the United
States. The company operates in Brazil, Canada, Argentina, Germany, China, El
Salvador, Costa Rica, Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Japan, Nicaragua, United
Kingdom, Puerto Rico and South Korea.JCPenney: Sees growth through high-end
merchandisingIn previous years, JCPenney's has marked upbeat enhancement in
various commodity ranges and witnessed increase in recognition as a superb place
for shopping. The company is optimistic about the future growth with 18 newly
added stores, a 22.5 percent climb in operating profits, and more than $1billion
in sales generated from Long-term initiatives have been made, which
were implemented in mid 2005 to increase growth rate until 2009.The designed
plan has four major objectives to concentrate on, emotional touch with the
customers, creating beautiful and easy shop interiors, to make JCPenney the best
working place, and to become a premier in performance. Considering these
objectives, the company has launched many new brands such as Miss Biou,
Lee-work, Nicole, A.N.A., and Solitude.The new POS system that provides internet
connectivity and lessens transaction time to improve the shopping experience was
implemented at more than 30 stores in the previous year. The company will
implement this system in the remaining stores by the end of this year.The
company aims to add 27 new stores in 2006; most of them are scheduled at
off-mall locations. It anticipates mid-single digit increases in sales in the
year with re-organized focus on online merchandise and catalogue. JCPenny's also
targets home furnishing area as another area of development.JCPenney's is one of
America's largest department store, catalog, and e-commerce retailers, employing
approximately 150,000 associates.Target: Implementing new ideas & innovations
for better growthIn a move to comply its strategy to offer exclusive and
exquisite designs, Target sustained to pour-in more investments to developing
design and source fashionable, precise merchandise with objectives to add more
competitively priced ranges along with true value-added goods. The annual sales
reached over $50billion last year, and the company is looking for better growth
on this performance by utilizing the experiences gained over the year.To lure
more shoppers, the company launched 'GO international', limited edition clothing
line, featuring a totally new international designer every three months. Each
collection introduced is carefully placed within the format to use sourcing
skills and knowledge in designing the product. The company has strengthened
product development teams and sourcing destinations are focused more than in the
previous years.The company is also focusing on enhancement in stores'
presentation via the completion of remodeling, renovations and construction at
the existing stores.Target Corporation's continuing operations include large,
general merchandise discount stores, as well as an on-line business called The company currently operates 1,418 Target stores in 47 states.GAP
Inc.: Searching success via effective strategic initiativesLast fiscal year was
hostile for GAP, as it slipped 2 percent in net sales and 5 percent in
comparable store sales. Despite the poor sales performance, Gap strengthens its
financial condition in cash and investments with $3billion, and eliminated
$2.9billion in debts since 2002.For the coming years, strategies had been
laid-out to set up operational efficiencies, putting scissors on sourcing vendor
base, making better shopping experience for all clothing lines, and adding more
space to the stores both in the country and overseas. The first expansion of
franchise stores are scheduled to launch in Malaysia and Singapore within the
current year.After the triumph of Forth & Towne, five more operations for the
brand are planned at different locations in 2006. The GAP designer team is
concentrating on making quality products quicker, enhance merchandising at 200
top adult stores, and create buzz that GAP is again on track. The team is
focusing on main products and more amicable fashions in the clothing collection
for Banana Republic. GAP Inc. is also shaking hands with the stake-holders to
handle the bang in economically challenged areas. The major strategies for the
growth are - managing and upholding current brands, with off-shore expansion via
franchise systems, creating an online business, and making new brands.Gap Inc is
one of the world's largest specialty retailers, with more than 3,000 stores and
in 2005 revenues of $16 billion. It operates four of the most recognized apparel
brands in the world - Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Forth & Towne.Kohl's:
Success thru ideal merchandising conceptLast year was a fiscal triumph for
Kohl's with record net sales up of 14.5 percent to $13.4billion worth of sales.
Kohl's attained favorable outcome in broadening the customer base via launching
new brands and merchandising mixed categories.The success was a result of four
initiatives laid out to concentrate on merchandise content, managing inventory,
marketing, and enhancing store shopping experience. In the current year Kohl's
plans to expand on the basis of last year's success and introduce new brands.
The store plans to add about 500 more locations within the next five years. This
expansion will be made through a strategic blend of existing and new stores,
along with taking advantage of real estate opportunities that may climb as the
sector continues to uphold. The company plans to operate over 1200 stores
throughout US by the end of 2010.The focus is to control its brand concept,
adding value and cater to needs of existing customers. Widen customer base with
better management of inventory along with continuously offering of latest and
exclusive new clothing lines.Based in Menomonee Falls, Wis., Kohl's is a
family-focused, value-oriented specialty department store offering moderately
priced national and exclusive brand apparel, shoes, accessories, home, and
beauty products in an exciting shopping environment. It operates 749 stores in
43 states.Sears Holdings: Merger to roll-out silk routeSears Holdings completed
its first year of the 'Sears' and 'K-Mart' grand merger in March 2006. The
merger had created great anticipations for better product and value.The first
year after merger, passed in settling down merger integration affairs and
putting strategies into practice. However, now all the issues are settled down
and the company has shifted its gear to attain for $55 billion in revenue within
the next few years.The integration processes of the two companies are finalized
and this is the time to examining and executing the strategies set during the
merger. The company is following new format, SearsbraM for clear communication
on the quality of product variety.The popular brands, such as Craftsman,
Diehard, Land's End, and Kenmore are aimed for better product assortments to
mark their name as identity of quality and excellence. The stores, which were
not performing well, have been shut down.Sears Holdings Corporation is the
nation's third largest broad-line retailer, with approximately $55 billion in
annual revenues, and with approximately 3,900 full-line and specialty retail
stores in the United States and Canada.Tommy Hilfiger: Tightens inventory
managementIn terms of achieving objectives, last year was encouraging for Tommy
Hilfiger, as it successfully expanded its European business, restructured US
wholesale operations, re-organized product assortment, while growing the company
as a multi-brand recognition.The company reorganized merchandise mix by removing
the junior and young men's collections, while more concentrated on men's and
women's clothing lines. It has enhanced its inventory management to get better
on the flow of products to the sales floor.Tommy is focusing more on
sophisticated premium denim market than the promotional jeans wear commodity.
Additionally, it is launching new labels for women "Crest", anticipated to meet
the increasing demand for casual dress line for women. The management at Tommy
is optimistic about the new product line, and expects that it will offer huge
opportunity to meet consumer requirements with a casual clothing line.The key
areas of focus, in 2006, are improving marketing efficiencies and reduce excess
capacity. The company has initiatives to introduce Lagerfeld brands in the US
this year. Lagerfeld brand was acquired by the Tommy Hilfiger in 2005, in a move
to expand worldwide with an identity of having multi-brands.The management has
made up its mind to project Hilfiger as a specialty store for it will run test
stores in different retail formats. These stores are anticipated to become fully
operational the second half of this year.Tommy Hilfiger Corporation's
subsidiaries designs, sources, and market for men's and women's sports, jeans,
and children's wear. Its brands range consist Tommy Hilfiger and Karl - Leading B2B Portal and Marketplace of Global
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