Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW) hosted their first Newsmaker Forum of the new year on February 15 with Carmen Bauza, vice president of beauty and personal care for Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and Muriel Gonzalez, executive vice president/GMM for cosmetics, fragrances and shoes at Macy’s Inc. The sold-out discussion, moderated by CEW chairperson Jill Scalamandre, focused on strategies for reaching and attracting today’s consumer.

“These are two of the most powerful retailers in the business,” said Carlotta Jacobson, president of CEW. “They both share a spirit of camaraderie, generosity and curiosity.”

Discussing the retail tug-of-war between online shopping and the retail store experience, Ms. Gonzalez said, “Customers have so many choices today, and what we [Macy’s] have to do better is service. If we do service right, that’s when we’ll win.”

With Macy’s tracking nearly 30 million households, Ms. Gonzalez said they know much more about their customers than they did before and are now able to make marketing decisions more carefully.

“It’s important for us [Macy’s] to be able to satisfy all of a woman’s product needs and give her a broad product assortment with surprises at the counter,” said Gonzalez. “We are then able to see those customer’s reactions and reviews on Facebook. It is invaluable for us to get that direct customer feedback.”

Keeping with her company’s motto, “Saving people money so they can live better,” Ms. Bauza discussed the significance of knowing details about the lives of their typical shopper.

“Ninety percent of Americans shop at Walmart, and we know our customers quite well,” said Bauza. “Our average shopper has an annual income of $26,000. That gives them about $60.00 a month to spend on consumer goods (not including food), so we need to make sure we have the right assortment of brands at the right prices.”

Also touching on the topic of social media, Ms. Bauza said, “The daily interaction of consumers is a great vehicle for us. We hear all the good and all the bad, and then we are able to respond to the customer right then and there.” Both retail powerhouses agreed that communicating and connecting with customers is the key to success, whether it’s through a social media site or face-to-face counter service.

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Walmart’s Carmen Bauza with Macy’s
Muriel Gonzalez and Carlotta Jacobson of CEW.

Maybelline New York’s David Greenberg and Steve Lutz (2nd r.) with Carmen Bauza and Cindy Lee of Walmart.

Carlotta Jacobson with Pamela Baxter of LVMH.


Macy’s Linda Levy and Nancy Schmidt with George Cleary of Coty Beauty (c.).

L’Oréal Paris’ Jackie Madsen, Karen Fondu, Nathalie Kristo and Lorraine Coyle.

L’Oréal Luxury’s Marc Rey with Stephen Nussdorf and Rafael Villoldo of Perfumania.


Elizabeth Arden’s Joel Ronkin and
Kathy Widmer.

Lord & Taylor’s Barbara Zinn Moore with
Diane Nicholson of NPD Group.

P&G’s Vince Hudson with Rodale’s Mary Murcko and Stefano Curti of Johnson & Johnson.

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WSL Strategic Retail’s Wendy Liebmann
and Jill Scalamandre of Chrysallis.

P&G’s Maisha Webster, Rob Stevens,
Marlene Creighton and Shawn Millerick.

Coty Beauty’s Matt Lucas and Mary van Praag with Carmen Bauza (c.).

All coverage dates are subject to change based on final event dates or cancellation of events. Please visit the homepage of our website for the most current list of events and coverage dates.

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