Neil Saunders - Banana Republic

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Looking in more detail at the various strands of Walmart's initiatives, a sharper focus on price is cutting through – especially on grocery. The response to Walmart flexing its price muscles has been good, and we expect further small gains over the rest of this year. A more disciplined focus on low prices is also important as Aldi, and now Lidl, expand into the market.feedback
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May 18 2017 Walmart
This page is completely dedicated to what Neil Saunders has to say. All of Neil Saunders’s quotes are organized here by date and topic. The most recent quote attributed to Neil Saunders came from an article called Ralph Lauren posts quarterly loss a day after naming new CEO: “While Ralph Lauren is supposed to be a premium brand, it has become far too ubiquitous and in so doing has become less special. It simply isn't credible for a high-end brand to simultaneously showcase itself in a glitzy store on Madison Avenue while at the same time hawking a random assortment of sweaters thrown in a ragtag way on a table in Macy's. The two are incongruous and, ultimately, cheapen the image of the brand. We see some early signs of Ralph Lauren pulling back from less favorable channels, but it needs to work much faster if it is to rebuild its cachet.”.
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Neil Saunders quotes

Looking ahead, productivity is a big issue in the US and the UK. Profit margins are under pressure from the constant discounting and price reductions which are needed to cope with stiff competition. On top of this, costs are problematic, thanks to increases in business rates in the UK and minimum wage hikes in both countries. All of this adds up to a perfect storm which means retailers are rethinking and reconfiguring their business models.feedback

In terms of online penetration, the US is where the UK was five or so years ago. What we are seeing is large US retailers scrabbling to adjust.feedback

There is certainly a parallel between BHS and players like Sears and Macy's. All of them fall into the trap of lacking differentiation and having an offer that is very middle of the road. This doesn't cut it in today's cutthroat market, where the consumer has so much choice. Generally, UK retail is at a much later evolutionary stage than the US. There has already been quite a lot of adjustment in terms of the closure and adaptation of physical space. That said, the sector remains highly pressured which makes further shocks, like the closure of BHS, inevitable.feedback

Despite the gloomy numbers, there was one bright spot for Finish Line: its sales within Macy's stores increased by 35 percent over this quarter. Given Macy's general troubles with customer traffic over the past few months, this is an impressive performance that shows the shop-in-shops Finish Line has opened are apparently working.feedback

Although the business is making some progress, it is fair to say that that progress is patchy and does not indicate a company that is back to full health. Tiffany still has issues in a number of regions, including the Americas and Europe.feedback

While [Thanksgiving to Christmas] remains the most important single period for purchasing, it accounts for a much smaller share of annual sales than it once did.feedback

In our view this is little more than a short-term survival tactic, where funds raised are used to prop up a failing business rather than generate long-term growth.feedback

Anthropologie, is still a brand in search of a clear identity.feedback

Some pruning should remedy this, and we believe it will reduce costs as well as deepening relationships with strategic partners, which will allow it to create differentiated products.feedback

Not only is the message confusing and opaque, but the promise of change that it suggests is not entirely delivered on by stores, which look and feel the same.feedback

Part of [Target's strategy] is a sensible recognition of heightened price activity in the market. However, we would also caution that Target should not chase Wal-Mart on price, as it is a battle that cannot easily be won. We also believe that many of Target's issues are not solely price related.feedback

Although JCP ended its fiscal year with a shrink in sales, it can take some comfort from the fact that the decreases are modest and that it managed to outperform its main department store rivals.feedback

Nordstrom ends is fiscal year as a company of two halves: the mainstream business, which is struggling to grow; and the off-price business which, overall, is motoring along nicely.feedback

As much as we believe Michael Kors is headed in the right direction… we maintain our view that it has much more work to do in reconnecting with customers who have been alienated by overexpansion of the brand.feedback

This sudden departure gives the impression of a brand in crisis, and we believe it signals significant internal wrangling over the future direction of the firm. It also demonstrates the founder's continued dominance over the business. As much as Ralph Lauren should be respected for his significant achievements and his undeniable design talent, we are concerned by the orthodoxy of his leadership, under which questioning and fresh thinking are relatively rare. This, in our view, is not the way to reinvent a brand that has clearly lost its way.feedback

The various improvements the company is making are not, as of yet, generating significant traction with consumers. They are really about correcting deficiencies rather than putting eBay on an innovative footing.feedback

These changes were supposed to drive a steady and sustainable uplift in (consumer) spending rather than a one-off spike in sales, but it is increasingly clear that this strategy is not delivering.feedback

Sales are not impressive, but investors are most concerned with profitability and long-term value. These companies have done a better job keeping the business running on the operational side and delivering on profitability.feedback

The 1 percent uplift is modest, but it is far better than the string of poor numbers the company has been posting for well over a year. That said, the figures do not show that all the problems at Tiffany have been resolved.feedback

We believe that these results demonstrate the Family Dollar acquisition is paying dividends and remains firmly on course in terms of the savings and benefits Dollar Tree promised investors.feedback

You do have to be quite sensitive about this.feedback

All in all, it is safe to say that A&F's recovery program, which showed some signs of promise at the start of this year, is now firmly off track.feedback

Not only are total sales sequentially worse than last quarter, but revenues at Abercrombie have slumped and net income is down by over 80 percent.feedback

This will help restaurants and will lift spending moderately. That said, the end of the election does not spell the end of all uncertainty: This is a time of change for many and quite a number of consumers are concerned about the impact of a Trump presidency. This may well create a ceiling of growth.feedback

Meal kits have become more popular over recent years, but their rise has been far from meteoric and they remain a relatively niche part of the food sector.feedback

Given the perishable nature of the products, this type of operation is complex and costly to run – especially so when you factor in the free delivery often offered. This is one of the reasons why the services are not very profitable. However, the providers are limited as to how far they can increase prices because consumers won't pay above a certain level per meal.feedback

To a certain extent you can tailor the meals to your tastes, but they do not allow for the 'I fancy this tonight' type flexibility that consumers like and can enjoy with regular grocery shopping.feedback

While this first quarter outcome is somewhat soft, it does show that Coach remains on the right path to rebuilding its brand image and enhancing profitability.feedback

That said, over the longer term Amazon's investment in physical should help it get a tighter grip on fulfillment costs. Amazon is playing the long game.feedback

Thanks to good cost control, and some lower food input prices, Darden has managed to translate its meager sales uplifts into healthy profit growth.feedback

Darden isn't immune from wider trends, however we believe it will continue to buck them in the quarters ahead.feedback

Against this backdrop of subdued growth and potentially lower margins it is not surprising that the big retailers are being cautious. They do not want to over commit on the cost front and that means keeping tight control of inventory and of staffing.feedback

The assortment is at the heart of Banana's issues and symbolizes a brand that has simply lost its way.feedback

While the sales uplifts may seem somewhat anemic, it is important to note that they are being delivered against the backdrop of a falling number of doors through which Coach sells.feedback

The softness in the U.S. market is disappointing given the initially positive reaction to menu changes and the introduction of hot dogs. Restaurant Brands needs to up the pace of innovation if it is to grow further.feedback

There is no doubt that in the United States the market as a whole was weak across the reporting period, with lower growth in consumer expenditure on fast food and casual dining.feedback

It's a very difficult business model to make work online.feedback

Lululemon begins its new fiscal year in very much the same way it ended its last one: with strong overall sales growth fueled by the rise of online and the opening of new stores.feedback

...While a marked improvement on past collections, early spring and summer ranges were fairly lackluster - especially at Abercrombie (brand).feedback

Constantly changing assortment, the excitement of finding a bargain, and the sense of urgency associated with having to secure a product before it is sold out, all give consumers a reason to regularly visit shops.feedback

TJX is one of the reasons that U.S. department stores cannot succeed at the discount game.feedback

Fortunately for Macy's, while net income has declined the group remains in the black. This gives it some room to maneuver – a luxury that other players, like Sears, don't have. However, this does not mean that Macy's has time on its side.feedback

This has been a disastrous quarter for Gap and one during which all of its main engines stalled and went into reverse. While the (Old Navy) brand has been the star of the show for many quarters, the past few collections have been dull and uninspiring.feedback

Aeropostale will likely emerge from Chapter 11 as a leaner entity with a smaller, but largely profitable, store base...but it does not solve the issue of relevance to the market. Rethinking the brand proposition is key to improving prospects. Chapter 11 buys Aero time and space to undertake this rethink. In itself does not provide a long-term solution.feedback

Apple needs to come up with a radical new innovation or product rather than just the current incremental improvements to existing products. This is the only way in which it will reinvigorate sales growth.feedback

The company's Nook business continues to be an unmitigated disaster. It remains clear that Nook is a business in terminal decline.feedback

Given the toughness of the market and the much worse performance from Walmart and department store rivals, the comparable sales uplift is very respectable.feedback

We believe that Target performed somewhat above the market (in apparel) thanks to its more fashion-savvy shopper demographic and its strong marketing efforts around holiday looks and outfit advice.feedback

The worry is that the winter stock is not being sold even with deep discounts. Unfortunately, it looks like retailers will have to write-off their winter inventory.feedback

By comparative retail standards, Amazon's level of profitability is still painfully weak. For every dollar the company takes, it makes just 0.75 of a cent in profit.feedback

In a sign that its turnaround efforts are paying dividends McDonald's latest results show continued progress.feedback

Prior to the economic downturn of 2008 the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas was key for jewelry buying. Jewelry is no longer at the top of the Christmas list.feedback

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