Jones Group’s Richard Dixon and Macy’s
Martine Reardon with Steve Sadove of Saks.

Fashion Group International hosted a retail symposium with a panel of three top executives to discuss the convergence of art and science in the retail environment. Held in New York City on March 20, the symposium featured the insights and strategies of esteemed panelists Martine Reardon, CMO of Macy’s; Steve Sadove, CEO of Saks; and Richard Dickson, president and CEO of Jones Group Branded Business.

Moderator Robin Lewis, managing editor and CEO of The Robin Report, welcomed guests to the luncheon with a few remarks about the discussion’s theme.

Steve Jobs didn’t invent art or science, but he quintessentially defined the convergence of art and science in retailing,” said Lewis. “The same revolutionary technologies that threatened brick and mortar retailers are now being used by these retailers to not only expand their businesses, but to gain competitive advantage.”

Lewis asked each panelist to provide their input on a variety of topics, including how art and
science are used to create the best new experiences for the customer.

“Omni-channel is the appropriate word for it,” said Sadove. “The retailer has to have the technology to be able to move inventory around, meet volume demand and understand the consumer. We have to rethink the market, and we’ve made an $85-$95 million investment in technology in order to be an omni-channel retailer over the next few years.”

Reardon said that the Macy’s team has been inspired by a quote from 1866 that says, “Be everywhere, do everything, and never fail to astonish the customer.”

She added that Macy’s is focusing on customers who shop both in store and online, which were once very separate businesses, but now share a seamless line.

“We want to be mobile—be where she [69% of Macy’s customers are female] can get to us quickly,” said Reardon. “We’ve been having fun trying to understand her preferences. Our goal now is to use technology to enhance preferences and personalization in the digital space, as well as for ‘shoppertainment’—our way of making the shopping experience a little more fun.”

Dickson offered a point of view from a retailer’s and wholesaler’s standpoint.

“We have very distinct languages per brand,” said Dickson. “Our brands are all about how we talk to our consumers, and a lot of that is technology-based now. Sixty-two percent of the Rachel Roy business comes from Facebook, but I can tell you that’s not the same for Easy Spirit. Being platform agnostic is important.”

The Robin Report’s Robin Lewis with Margaret Hayes of FGI. LVMH’s Jessica Barlow and Nicholas Munafo. FGI’s Mitria DiGiacomo with Nancy Berger Cardone of Marie Claire.
5 FGI    
Bliss’ Mike Indursky with Emily Aldredge
of Kent State New York City.

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