Consumer Reports JCPenney Kohls Macy's Sears-Fashion Target - Fashion

Private Brands Drive America\’s Top Stores

\"\"More than 30,000 shoppers found Costco to be top notch among 11 of America\’s most popular chain stores, according a recent survey by Consumer Reports and their Private Brand Kirkland\’s Signature played a significant role in the ranking. Private Brand also contributed to rankings from many other retailers including Dillard\’s, Target, JCPenney, Sears, and Meijer

Fifty percent of readers who shopped at Costco rated the value as Excellent; for all the stores in Consumer Reports survey as a whole, that figure was 30 percent. Walmart and Kmart scored notably lower than the other chains, but Costco stood tall. In addition to citing the warehouse club\’s rock-bottom prices, survey respondents praised its bang for the buck: It was the only store judged much better than average for value.

\”In our surveys over the years, Costco has earned high marks as a source of a surprisingly large selection of goods, including mattresses, electronics, small appliances, groceries, and books. In recent years, the chain\’s Kirkland Signature products have often performed well in our tests,\” said Tod Marks, sr. project editor, Consumer Reports.

Overall Consumer Reports readers weren\’t always thrilled with the quality of the merchandise at many stores. Only Dillard\’s and Costco earned better than-average all-around scores. In general, the highest marks went to electronic entertainment products and personal-care items and the lowest to men\’s and women\’s apparel and home-decor items.

Walmart was the sole chain to receive below-average quality scores in more than half of the product categories. Only about 10 percent of Walmart shoppers thought the store\’s children\’s clothing was excellent, for example. By contrast, 46 percent of Dillard\’s shoppers thought the kids\’ apparel was top-notch. No matter how good the merchandise, problems can sour a shopping experience.

For all the talk about Walmart\’s low prices, shoppers said the prices at 10 other retailers, including JCPenney, Sears, Dillard\’s, and Meijer, were at least as good. And bigger wasn\’t necessarily better when it came to the overall shopping experience. Almost three quarters of respondents who shopped at Walmart found at least one problem to complain about, and half had two or more complaints about the store or its staff. Among our other findings:

  • Four chains earned outstanding scores for merchandise quality: Costco (watches and jewelry, personal-care items, hardware, home decor, kitchenware, electronic entertainment such as music and DVDs, and sporting goods and toys), Dillard\’s (men\’s, women\’s, and children\’s clothing; personal-care items; home decor; and kitchenware), Macy\’s (home decor and personal-care items), and Sears (hardware).
  • Target\’s \”cheap chic\” goods didn\’t wow everyone. Despite its high-profile partnerships with fashionistas Cynthia Vincent, Eugenia Kim, and Zac Posen, survey respondents judged the quality of Target\’s women\’s clothing and watches and jewelry below average, and the store\’s kitchenware, home decor, and men\’s and children\’s apparel average.
  • In addition to a lack of sales help, the most prevalent problems were that desired items were out of stock and that checkouts were jammed. In fact, 29 percent of shoppers Consumer Reports surveyed complained about long lines. The problems were much worse than average at Kmart, Walmart, and Meijer, a Midwestern chain of superstores.

Other Service Gripes:
Consumer Reports
also asked readers about checkout gridlock, missing merchandise, spotty sales help, and cluttered stores. Fifty-eight percent of shoppers reported at least one problem; one-third had two or more. Walmart, Meijer, and Kmart shoppers encountered the most problems. Dillard\’s and Sears shoppers reported the fewest. Some specifics:

  • Slow checkouts. Twenty-nine percent of shoppers complained about a lack of open checkouts or about lines creating bottlenecks. Lines were worst at Walmart (cited by 46 percent of readers who had shopped there), but they were almost as bad at Costco, Sam\’s Club, and Meijer. Only 4 percent of customers complained of long lines at Dillard\’s.
  • Shoddy service. Relatively few shoppers sought help, but 24 percent of those who did speak with a clerk said they had a tough time finding one, and 15 percent of those who spoke with a clerk said that the employee wasn\’t well informed. Walmart and Kmart had the least knowledgeable staffers, according to readers.
  • Empty shelves. Readers who shopped at Meijer complained the most about out of-stock merchandise: 25 percent of respondents said the chain lacked an item they wanted. Walmart, Kmart, and Target also had trouble keeping regular merchandise in stock. Meijer and Kmart tended to disappoint shoppers looking for sale items.
  • Difficult layout. Thirteen percent of shoppers complained about cluttered displays or narrow aisles, but a disproportionate percentage of Walmart and Kohl\’s shoppers said that those problems hampered movement. Walmart, which operates many sprawling supercenters, was also cited as having stores that were too big to navigate easily.
  • Hidden price tags. At most chains, price tags were in plain sight, but at least 12 percent of respondents complained about missing or hard-to-find tags at Kmart, Walmart, and Meijer.
  • Lengthy returns. Few respondents had trouble returning or exchanging merchandise. The biggest difference among stores was how long it took to complete the process. Walmart shoppers were particularly peeved; 20 percent of the returns took more time than expected.

For more information on which stores are the best to shop, the complete ratings chart of popular chains, and helpful advice on the best places to buy clothes, electronics, appliances and other goods, check out Consumer Reports \”America\’s Top Stores\” report starting June 1st at or pick up a copy of the July issue wherever magazines are sold.

JCPenney Kohls Macy's Saks Fifth Avenue Sears-Fashion

Private Brand Fashion Takes the Lead at Americas Department Stores

\"\"Private and exclusive brands have taken the forefront at many retailers and so it should be no surprise that department stores have begun to use them as powerful tools to attract customers and build differentiation. The strategies vary from the seeming over proliferation of Kohl’s to the studied restraint of Neiman Marcus and everywhere in between. This article from the Dallas Morning News takes a look at the growth or both Private Brands and exclusive brands in department stores.

Department stores lure shoppers with exclusive product lines

Department stores are evolving again.

In the 1990s, there were dozens of regional chains dotting the four corners of malls, and they were criticized for looking alike and taking the excitement out of shopping.

Then came consolidation, with Macy\’s surviving atop a heap of names. Today, the 10 largest department store companies are as diverse in ambiance and price as Sears and Neiman Marcus and Kohl\’s and Saks.

The few surviving chains are reinventing and divvying up brands they all used to carry, turning them into exclusives.

Tommy Hilfiger and Ellen Tracy are available only at Macy\’s. Dana Buchman is only at Kohl\’s and, later this fall, Liz Claiborne will be only at J.C. Penney.

Major chains are drafting celebrities such as Madonna and Cindy Crawford and Lauren Conrad to bring them the next hot line that will draw traffic to their stores.

\”Every store is now looking for a reason to exist, to have a point of view and to pull away from the pack,\” said Mark Mendelson, chief executive of Ellen Tracy Inc.

Read the entire story.

2010 Macy's

Private Brand Jobs Galore at Macy\’s

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Associate Brand Manager – INC

Macy\’s, Inc.
New York, NY

Associate Brand Manager is responsible for updating and maintaining the brand identity of the line, strategic planning , sales and marketing direction for the brand. This position reports to the Brand Director or Brand Manager.
Key Accountabilities:
Sales / Margin:
  • Partner with Brand Director/Brand Manager on generating support of the line and financial plans by gathering product performance input from divisions, sharing line development and direction, and promoting the assortments.
  • Responsible for implementation of all weekly selling reports and management summaries.
  • Assist in the management of division placements and tracking of all shipment dollars.
  • Recap and analyze all order placements, write corporate callouts by division, and follow through to make sure changes are implemented.
  • Responsible for seasonal line profitability analysis reports.
  • Partner with the Brand Director/Brand Manager on managing the information flow between the product organization and the divisions.
  • Responsible for identifying and communicating to divisions all reorders and new emerging opportunities.
Strategic Planning:
  • Partner with Brand Director/Brand Manager in execution of seasonal private brand sales vendor margin plans.
  • Partner with Brand Director/Brand Manager in writing of the Private Brand Financial Strategy, targets and receipt plans for the Buy Meeting.
  • Communicate to divisions the private brand merchandise and business strategies based on the plans.
  • Participate in the development of tactics and objectives for each season and meeting.
  • Assist marketing in the development of marketing plans and campaigns to support assortments.
  • Develop and follows through on all merchandise relating to visual campaigns.
  • Ensure merchandise strategies are executed on the store level.
  • Partner with marketing director on time and action calendar for each season.
  • Submit all monthly playbooks/selling guides.
  • Submit seasonal key items and back wall images.
Human Resources:
  • Provide leadership to divisions and product staff through product category expertise.
Skills Summary:
  • Bachelor\’s Degree
  • Minimum 2-3 years of experience in Retail (Store, Buying Office, Merchandise, etc.)
  • Extremely detailed oriented
  • Data input with high accuracy rate required
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word and Excel
  • Ability to handle and prioritize multiple tasks simultaneously
  • Excellent written and verbal skills


Product Manager – Sleepwear

Macy\’s, Inc.
New York, NY

This position reports to the Merchandise Product Director, Brand Manager/Director, and/or Product Director. Is responsible for managing the development of Private Brand/Label Program and Style Plans within the context of the sales/margin plans and business strategy.

Key Accountabilities:
Sales / Margin:

  • Responsible for monitoring, reporting, and analyzing merchandise performance by Program and Style.
  • Responsible for recapping and finalizing Program and Style placements.
  • Analyze current and historic sales/margins and market trends to assist Customers in placing appropriate assortments at Line Previews and Buy Meetings


  • Monitor Line Development activities to ensure Time and Action plan is followed
  • Manage the communication process with target office and suppliers to develop each Program and Style and to plan and place orders.
  • Collaborate with overseas offices to establish and finalize all material and production reservations and to confirm all production costs.
  • Negotiate costing for all styles to achieve competitive pricing and strategic mark-up targets.

Strategic Planning:

  • Communicate regularly with each Customer (Division) and Design to gather input, share line development direction, and to communicate business strategies.
  • Develop Line plans down to Classification and Style level.

Systems and Technology:

  • Manage the development of the Line List based on finalized Style Plan and merchandising information.
  • Manage information input process and possess bottom line accountability for the integrity and accuracy of all data entered into the Systems.

Skills Summary:

  • Bachelor\’s Degree in related field.
  • Experience in Retail (Store or Buying Office) and Product Development a plus.
  • Possess strong organizational and analytical skills.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and strong negotiating skills.
  • Proficient in PC operation, MS Office, and Excel.
  • Ability to be detail-oriented, flexible, self-motivated, and be able to motivate others.
  • Ability to view and differentiate the color spectrum.
  • Able to travel within /outside of the country.


Brand Specialist – Home

New York, NY
Job Number: PRI00167)


The Private Brand Specialist partners with the Brand Analyst in providing leadership to the divisions by driving and managing the private brand business to deliver sales and margin results. Responsible for assisting in the gathering and analyzing data down to the style, door, size level to assure adequate on order and inventory levels within the divisions and suppliers in each product category and private brand. Communicate with division merchants and resources to understand specific needs and issues.

Key Accountabilities:


  • Assist with report maintenance and coordinate weekly private brand business recaps.
  • Monitor merchandise performance overall (programs, key items, sales, margins) by division.
  • Assume ownership of the private brands seasonal EDI/Replenishment sales and receipt plans analysis down to the style, door and size level.
  • Perform review and analysis of division performance on a brand and item basis by door.
  • Identify, communicate and drive sales and margin of EDI/Replenishment programs and items.
  • Follow-up on recommendations (detailed door analysis) to divisions and assure compliance.
  • Monitor EDI/Replenishment programs.
  • Provide strategic direction to private brands placement plans to address penetration deficiencies.
  • Recap buy meeting results and recommend call-outs by division.


  • Assist in projecting and recommending purchase quantities on key programs.
  • Work with Brand Analyst to establish recommended promotional cadence and exit strategies.
  • Write recommended EDI/Replenishment orders by door for the divisions.
  • Ensure timely placement and delivery of all replenishment orders.


  • Assist with the maintenance of the basic replenishment items.
  • Validate and monitor EDI projections and adjust accordingly to maximize sales.
  • Oversee monthly EDI process and interact with suppliers and divisions to assure sales maximization by taking ownership down to the production and procurement at the size level.
  • Communicate inventory analysis by door to divisions and secure additional placements where appropriate.
  • Identify merchandising opportunities such as overages and shortages.
  • Develop and implement action plans.

Skills Summary:

  • Bachelor\’s Degree.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Product Assistant experience or similar.
  • Outstanding analytical skills.
  • Excellent Excel skills.
  • Macy\’s Systems experience a plus.



Macy\’s Expands Private Brand Fashion Portfolio.

\"\"American mega department store Macy’s will roll out four new fashion Private Brands and two home line expansions this spring. From couture to celebrity designers, the new collections will include:

  • Ellen Tracy – women’s better sportswear that is modern and aspirational
  • Threads & Heirs – men’s casualwear featuring a capsule collection by couture designers Ruffian
  • Kouture by Kimora – of-the-moment looks for young trendsetters
  • mstylelab – fashion jewelry and hair accessories for the young contemporary shopper
  • Vida for España by Eva Mendes – Private Brand extension to casual Latin-inspired dinnerware
  • Martha Stewart Collection – Private Brand extension to mattresses with styles in multiple comfort choices

The new collections will begin arriving in select stores in March and April, and represent the newest examples of outstanding fashion goods at a great value, available only at Macy’s.

Also, just announced for fall 2010 is an exclusive strategic alliance with Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc. under which Macy’s will be the sole department store retailer of the new Kenneth Cole REACTION men’s sportswear line within the United States and its territories.

“Customers come to Macy’s for the best Private Brands and the latest ideas in style. By adding Ellen Tracy, Threads & Heirs, mstylelab, Kouture by Kimora and Kenneth Cole REACTION men’s (fall season) to our exclusive fashion assortments, and by extending into new categories within popular home Private Brands Martha Stewart Collection and Vida by Eva Mendes – we are continuing to offer fresh and interesting merchandise that consumers won’t find in other stores,” said Jeff Gennette, Macy’s Chief Merchandising Officer. “This spring represents one of our strongest seasons of exclusive launches ever.”


Ellen Tracy

Beginning this March, notable fashion brand Ellen Tracy will begin selling exclusively in 105 Macy’s stores nationwide, with an additional 45 stores to be added in the fall. For the first time, this aspirational fashion brand will offer chic, modern separates at a more affordable price, retailing from $30 to $150 versus $70 to $1500 – an average of 65 percent less. With everything from glamour pieces to the covetable white shirt, the new line for Ellen Tracy delivers fashion that is fit flattering and lifestyle friendly.

Inspired by the everyday woman, the new Ellen Tracy collection represents designer product that addresses the modern woman’s need for dynamic pieces. Designed for a self-assured, independent and spontaneous female, each piece represents a different part of her life. Striking the perfect balance between youthful attitude and grown-up glamour, the Ellen Tracy customer can create a whole wardrobe from this collection. Key items will include your basic white shirt, leggings, slim pants and tunic dresses. Living in the Macy’s better sportswear section, Ellen Tracy will fill a gap between Macy’s Private Brand and bridge classifications. The Ellen Tracy collection will be available in select Macy’s stores and on

Threads & Heirs

Available in 200 Macy’s stores nationwide and on beginning March 2010, the Threads & Heirs collection offers a modern style sensibility and delivers desirable men’s fashion at an affordable price. Produced by LF USA’s Oxford Collections and designed in part by acclaimed luxury designers and New York fashion darlings Ruffian, the Threads & Heirs line reaches the man that expects the latest looks in quality fabrications. Positioned to offer great value, the line consists of tops and jackets ranging from $24 for a t-shirt to $99 for a jacket. Developed to respond to the 20- to 40-something male, Threads & Heirs strikes a chord with the man who cares about what he looks like and is style and label conscious but price sensitive. With a casual sensibility the Threads & Heirs label aims to provide cool style with a slim silhouette and unique trimmings. Threads & Heirs will be available in select Macy’s stores and on

Kouture by Kimora

Fashion designer Kimora Lee Simmons will launch a new line – Kouture by Kimora – exclusively at 150 Macy’s stores in March 2010, with another 150 stores to follow in May 2010. Geared toward the global juniors consumer, Kouture by Kimora offers chic fashions aimed at the budget fashionista and provides body-loving looks with all the eye-catching embellishments and fabrications of today’s trends. Vibrant colors and energetic prints reflect Kimora’s signature flair and sense of confidence. Appealing to trend lovers, this youthful brand captures the attention of young women who value styling as much as they do smart spending. Prices range from $24 to $40 with styles including retro jackets, off-shoulder blouses, fun rompers and flirty dresses. Kouture by Kimora will roll out to select Macy’s stores in March and May with more exciting pieces to come in Fall 2010.


mstylelab, a contemporary accessories brand, will launch this April in 150 Macy’s stores nationwide. Merchandised in the junior’s department, mstylelab will offer affordable jewelry and hair accessories ranging from $6 – $40. Created for the young contemporary woman, mstylelab offers stylish product that addresses today’s need for fast fashion at a great price. With trends driving the design sensibility, this collection offers a variety of items from necklaces and earrings to bracelets, rings and headbands. Keeping in mind this customer’s desire for product inspired by trends off of the runway, mstylelab is off-the-chart fashion forward. mstylelab can be found exclusively in Macy’s Junior’s department beginning April 2010.

Kenneth Cole REACTION (for Fall 2010)

The new REACTION men’s sportswear collection will be geared toward cool millennial men with an energetic, downtown sensibility. It will include a special focus on denim, graphic tees, and woven shirts, and will appeal to a younger, more casual and price-conscious consumer than the more sophisticated Kenneth Cole New York collection. This new line will build on the historical success of REACTION at Macy’s in other men’s classifications, including footwear, outerwear, tailored clothing, dress shirts and ties, classification pants, bags and luggage, small leather goods, belts, men’s jewelry, sunglasses and fragrance. With the addition of the men’s sportswear category, REACTION will now be able to offer the Macy’s man a complete lifestyle collection that satisfies his wardrobe needs from work to weekend.

The new collection will launch in September 2010 in 150 Macy\’s stores and online at It is ultimately slated to grow to 550 doors, consistent with the existing REACTION brand penetration in other categories. The launch will include a roll out of new REACTION shop-in-shops in prime locations in Macy’s stores across the country.


Ne-Yo\’s Private Brand Hero – Alfani Red

Grammy Award-winning R&B singer/songwriter Ne-Yo is the spokesperson for Macy\’s contemporary Private Brand Alfani Red! If you are not familiar with Neo check out the video, he is cool, in an old school, retro way that simultaneously evokes Motown and today. If Marvin Gaye or Sam Cook where alive and working this is what they would look like.

Earlier this month Macy’s sponsored a Listening Party for Ne-Yo’s new song, “Heroes.” The party was held at the Simyone (SL) Lounge a trendy NYC club in the Meatpacking District. The Party featured models wearing the latest Alfani Red collection as well as Ne-Yo mingling and enjoying the crowd. The new song is available for FREE download on in support of the RESPECT! campaign. For every song downloaded from February 1 – March 31, 2010, Alfani will make a $1 donation, up to $50,000, to the RESPECT! campaign to end relationship violence.

Bravo Macy’s this is a nice tie in, a great way to engage your customers and help the community.

Here is Ne-yo performing the song on Letterman.