Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The HBC Revamp

As we reported earlier, HBC, the 388 year old Canadian company has been sold to an American company which owns Lord & Taylor. With this new acquisition comes a new CEO by the name of Jeffrey Sherman, who was appointed to the position this past Thursday, a day before the news officially broke to the public regarding the HBC transfer.

Sherman has experience working in executive positions at Ralph Lauren Co., Victoria's Secret, The Limited Brands, and monster deparment store Bloomingdale's, and feels that he can bring something new and exciting to the HBC company. His comment on the current state of HBC? "I come from a world where a maniacal, intensive, disciplined understanding of the customer drives all strategic decisions in the company. I don't think [the Bay] has the clarity towards a core customer group that it needs to have. Today it tries to be wider than ultimately it probably should be."

Sherman will also be responsible for Zellers and Home Outfitters in addition to The Bay. Plans are in the works for The Bay and Zellers to have their own separate CEOs.

Sherman additionally commented that although he had plans to retire, he was approached a mere month ago about this position and felt it a great opportunity. “This opportunity and the level of excitement and enthusiasm of resurrecting and re-energizing and re-positioning a heritage brand is so compelling that my retirement can wait”.

Many Canadians are weary of this new transfer, as HBC is the oldest department store in the world, not to mention a vital part of our history as it started as a fur trading company in the early 1600s. Hopefully Sherman will be able to find the balance between his business interests while still keeping in mind the Canadian spirit of the brand. Congratulations and all the best to him!

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