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IS HUDSON’S BAY’S ‘MODERNIZING’ STRATEGY BEST FOR THE COMPANY?

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In the past few years Hudson’s Bay has spent a fortune renovating several of its stores. A source at Hudson’s Bay headquarters tells us the company will spend close to $200 million/year to continue store renovations. But is Hudson’s Bay’s rejuvenation strategy working, and is it the best strategy?

While we’ve been posting daily Canadian retail-related news articles, we’ve also been quietly researching and analysing department store retailers in Europe, Australia and the United States. We’ve been examining successful and less successful strategies to elevate department store revenues and customer shopping experiences. Our research has found many successful department stores are using different strategies than Hudson’s Bay. 

Hudson’s Bay has decidedly gone ‘mid-scale’ with a twist – it has introduced high-priced womenswear at two (soon to be three) of its stores and has attempted to innovate somewhat with housewares and expanded men’s designerwear.  Yet it has somewhat neglected luxury accessories and potential designer shoe concessions in an era where expensive handbags and designer shoes have become the norm. Above is a chart showing the company’s positioning goals – to be somewhat ‘unique’ and ‘mid-value’. One might consider this positioning to be somewhere between Sears and Holt Renfrew

In the coming weeks we will analyse Hudson’s Bay’s retailing strategies in comparison to successful worldwide department stores. We’ll also evaluate Holt Renfrew and other stores to both learn from their successes and suggest how they may improve their Canadian operations. We also welcome suggestions and comments from readers. 

Retail Insider will be starting to delve into the world of retail analysis. Thank you for reading, and have an excellent weekend. 

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