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Talbots hires new CMO as part of new marketing strategy

Talbots Inc. has named Lori Wagner as EVP, CMO of the Talbots brand in a newly created senior executive position.

This comes on the heels of a new cutback plan that will reduce costs by $100 million over the next two years, including reducing its marketing budget by eliminating TV and national print advertising and redirecting half of the money from these areas to direct marketing.

This strategy was announced as part of Talbots financial results which reported that consolidated comparable-store sales declined 6% for the 13 weeks ended February 2. This timeframe totaled $587 million vs. sales of $638 million for the 14-week fourth quarter last year.

Consolidated direct marketing sales also dropped during the same period to $113 million compared to $114 million a year ago.

As part of the retailer’s new strategy and repositioning of the brand, Wagner will oversee all advertising, catalog development and direct marketing.

Wagner, 43, comes to the role with more than 15 years of marketing experience in the specialty retail sector. Wagner most recently served as CMO of Cole Haan, a division of Nike, where she was responsible for repositioning the brand and all aspects of worldwide marketing and advertising. Wagner has also held a number of senior executive marketing roles including SVP of marketing at Kenneth Cole and SVP of brand marketing and creative at the J. Crew Group.

At Talbots, Wagner will be responsible for developing and executing promotional and marketing strategies supporting stores, catalogs and e-commerce. She will oversee all functions of creative development, catalog and print production, advertising and sales promotion, and will manage Talbots catalog and e-commerce operations, including circulation planning and analysis, database marketing and catalog sales, as well as customer service.

She will report to Trudy Sullivan, president/CEO of Talbots and, as head of the Talbots direct business, she will report to COO Phil Kowalczyk.

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