• Powell Slaughter

Macy’s names Hal Lawton president

Jeff Kantor will lead new unified merchandising organization

hal lawtonHal Lawton
CINCINNATI – Hal Lawton will join department store leader Macy’s as president, effective Sept. 8.

Jeff KantorJeff Kantor
In addition, Jeff Kantor, chief of stores and a 35-year Macy’s veteran, will lead a single, simplified merchandising organization and an enhanced focus on the company’s data analytics capabilities.

The moves represent organizational changes to improve Macy’s performance.

As president, Lawton will be responsible for all aspects of the Macy’s brand, including merchandising, marketing, stores, operations, technology and consumer insights and analytics. He will report to CEO Jeff Gennette, who previously also served as president. Lawton has strong technology and digital expertise and was most recently senior vice president, eBay North America. He spent his earlier career at Home Depot and McKinsey & Co.

“Hal Lawton has deep expertise at the intersection of retail and technology, a diverse set of business experiences that give him a unique perspective and a track record of successfully driving a change agenda at scale,” said Gennette. “This is a key step as we look to further transform the business and work through the volatility of today’s retail landscape. Macy’s already has one of the strongest omnichannel businesses in the industry, and with Hal on the team, we will accelerate the integration of digital both online and in our stores to deliver the world-class experience our customers demand.”

“I look forward to working with Jeff, the management team and Macy’s associates across the country,” Lawton said. “It’s great to play a part in the transformation of this iconic company.”

As senior vice president of eBay North America, Lawton was responsible for all aspects of eBay’s Americas business unit and oversaw a period of sustained, sequential performance improvement. Prior to joining eBay, he spent 10 years in various leadership roles at Home Depot, where he most recently was senior vice president for merchandising. While at Home Depot, Lawton was responsible for jump-starting homedepot.com and building it into a nearly $2 billion business.

Kantor, who reports to Lawton, will lead restructuring of its merchandising operations and the strengthening of its consumer insights and data analytics capabilities. He has extensive experience in merchandising and stores. He also successfully oversaw macys.com.

The restructuring includes the consolidation of three functions – merchandising, planning and private brands – into a single merchandising function and organized around five "families-of-business" (Ready-to-Wear, Center Core, Beauty, Men’s and Kid’s, and Home). Feeding into this new merchandising structure are strengthened customer insights and data analytics, which the company is expanding to include inventory replenishment and pricing capabilities.

“Macy’s best merchants will be in the right structure to operate at the speed of our customer and will be fueled by the power of data,” said Gennette. “Macy’s has long been known for innovation and excellence in merchandising. The changes we are making today maintain our core merchandising skills while massively simplifying our structure and processes for greater speed and flexibility. We are also further strengthening our consumer insights and data analytics capabilities so we can make better decisions faster, balancing the art and science of retail.”

He added that Macy’s will work to increase customer loyalty by expanding its exclusive offerings to 40% of its business.

“Having a single lens for each family-of-business will allow us to expedite our strategy of delivering this edited, elevated and exclusive assortment to our best customers. To achieve this, we will aggressively grow our private brands while also offering the best national brands,” Gennette said. “I’ve asked Jeff Kantor to lead merchandising because of his deep knowledge of our business, strong relationships with our brand partners and outstanding leaderships skills.”

While the primary objective of this restructuring is growth, Macy’s anticipates it will save approximately $30 million on an annual basis, some of which may be used for reinvestment in the business. The company anticipates savings of approximately $5 million or approximately $0.01 per share in the fourth quarter of 2017, which is additive to previously provided earnings guidance.

The company anticipates one-time costs of approximately $20 million to $25 million associated with this restructuring, to be booked primarily in the third quarter of 2017.

Macy’s expects that these actions will result in a headcount reduction of approximately 100.

With fiscal 2016 sales of $25. 8 billion and approximately 140,000 employees, Macy’s operates more than 700 department stores under the Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s brands, and approximately 150 specialty stores that include Bloomingdale’s The Outlet, Bluemercury and Macy’s Backstage. Macy’s has stores in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico; and does business online at macys.com, bloomingdales.com and bluemercury.com.

Bloomingdale’s stores in Dubai and Kuwait are operated by Al Tayer Group under license agreements.

Powell SlaughterPowell Slaughter | Senior Editor

I'm Powell Slaughter, senior editor at Furniture/Today. I returned to the publication in January 2015 after nine years of writing about furniture retail strategies and best practices at a monthly magazine focusing on home furnishings retail operations. Prior to that, I spent 10 years with F/T covering wood furniture, the last five of those as case goods editor. While I cover occasional, home entertainment and home office here, a major responsibility is expanding our attention to the logistics side of the industry. I hope my articles will encourage a dialogue with retailers, vendors, third-party logistics specialists and carriers. I’d love to hear your ideas, concerns and suggestions for smoother flow of material and goods.

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