retail news in context, analysis with attitude

...with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

• The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reports that Target CEO Brian Cornell, in his capacity as the company's acting chief merchant (until a replacement for Kathee Tesija, who left in June,, is named), is spending time going on home visits during which he interviews Target customers.

It is an old-fashioned approach, Cornell says, but an effective one (that depends, to some degree, on the customers not realizing who he is).

"“Our overall focus — on being closer to the guest, closer to the consumer, being externally focused — means you have to get out there and listen," he says. "I spend a lot of time in houses and in stores, just listening to our front-line organization and the guest."

I've always felt that in retail companies, CEOs ought to be the de facto chief merchants ... I think it is great when they get out there and do this kind of stuff. I also love the idea that Cornell compares Target's approach these days to Bruce Springsteen: "In order to keep making good music, he had to evolve with the time,” he says. Bingo.

• The Associated Press reports that "JCPenney will sell refrigerators, washing machines and other appliances at some of its stores for the first time in more than 30 years." The move, according to the AP, "comes as many department stores are under pressure to attract shoppers who are spending more money on their homes than on clothing."

JC Penney says this is a response to customers who go on its website and search for refrigerators and washing machines.
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