DM may address retail woes

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DM may address retail woes
DM may address retail woes

The direct marketing industry is poised to be on the receiving end of a shift of marketing dollars away from big-budget national brand cam­paigns to more targeted efforts.

As the retail sector's woes con­tinued last week, both Macy's and Talbots announced plans to allocate more budget to direct and measurable tactics. While Talbots' overall marketing bud­get will decline this year, it will increase prospecting for both Talbots and J. Jill.

“Talbots feels that it is impor­tant to preserve the right amount of marketing spend, even at times like this,” said Trudy Sul­livan, president/CEO of the company, during a conference call with analysts. The company “feels that new customer acqui­sition via catalog and Web is the best use of that spending,” she continued.

Talbots said last week that it would eliminate national print and TV advertising and redirect approximately half of its bud­get for these strategies towards direct marketing initiatives.

“Talbots has substantial data­bases for both [the Talbots and J. Jill] brands,” said Sullivan.

Talbots also said it would close 22 stores in addition to the 78 Talbots Mens and Kids stores it said would close ear­lier this month, scale back store expansion plans and have leaner inventories in 2008. The goal of these and other initiatives an­nounced last week is to reduce costs by $100 million over the next two years. More retailers may follow suit with similar cost cutting measures.

“If there is backing off from national advertising, it is because retailers are reallocating their spend to places where they feel it will be more successful,” said John Adams, SVP of strategy at Draftfcb.

Macy's Inc. said last week that it is “reallocating resources” to place more emphasis at the local market level in order to ensure core customers find merchan­dise assortments, marketing programs and shopping experiences that are tailored to their needs.

This appears to be a shift in strategy from the big advertising and marketing push the company has put behind estab­lishing the Macy's name as a national brand. That strategy was implemented in September 2006, following Macy's acquisition of May Company and the conversion of more than 400 regional stores to the Macy's nameplate.

Last year, however, Macy's admitted sales in many of its newer stores were lagging. The retailer said last week that same-store sales for the final four weeks of fiscal 2007, compared with the same period during the previous year, were down 7.1%.

Macy's new strategy is also expected to reduce total costs. The new initiative is called “My Macy's” and includes con­solidating its Minneapolis-based Macy's North organization into New York-based Macy's East, its St. Louis-based Macy's Midwest organization into Atlanta-based Macy's South and its Seattle-based Ma­cy's Northwest organization into San Francisco-based Macy's West. The con­solidations will affect approximately 2,550 positions.

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