Macy’s is getting serious about shedding the bureaucratic culture that has caused it to fall behind in the retail wars.
The move is part of the retailer’s efforts to streamline it highest ranks and speed up decision making. It also gives the retailer additional expertise in e-commerce at a time when growing online sales is critical amid an intense rivalry with Amazon.
Hal Lawton, 43, is leaving his role as eBay’s senior vice president for North America to take on what is essentially the No. 2 job at Macy’s (Bloomingdale’s, part of parent Macy’s Inc, is largely run as an independent retailer with its own CEO, who reports to Macy’s Inc CEO Jeff Gennette). He will oversee all aspects of the Macy’s brand, taking on responsibility for functions like merchandising, marketing, stores, operations, tech, and consumer insights, and analytics.
Macy’s also said it was overhauling its merchandising organization by merging its merchandising, planning and private-label functions into a single entity, cutting 100 jobs in the process. The move is aimed squarely at making Macy’s more nimble as it looks to halt the erosion of its business by rivals like Amazon.com (amzn) TJX Cos’s (tjx) T.J. Maxx, and Ulta Beauty (ulta).
The moves comes at a time Macy’s concedes it needs to be faster in adapting to retail’s quickly changing landscape. It’s also important as Gennette looks to raise the percentage of exclusive and private label merchandise sold by Macy’s to 40% from about 29% now, and to give shoppers a reason to come to Macy’s rather than any of the number of rivals selling a given brands.
Macy’s and other department stores have seen sales decimated by the “sea of sameness” in their product offerings, leaving them with deep discounting as a key means of enticing customers. But those tactics have damaged their brands and hurt the image of the vendors they rely on to get shoppers into stores.
Macy’s is also gearing up to launch a new loyalty program it hopes will give it far deeper insights into its customers’ shopping patterns with a view to garnering more sales from each.
Previous to his tenure at eBay, Lawton worked at Home Depot (hd), where he helped turn the do-it-yourself retailer into an e-commerce behemoth. He is also an alum of McKinsey, the business consulting company.