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jerryking : victoria's_secret   3

Les Wexner, the man behind Victoria’s Secret
Barney Jopson MARCH 30, 2018

Propped against the wall are boards from recent presentations about customer loyalty schemes and the nearby Easton open-air shopping complex, which was conceived by Wexner, a staunch and often lonely defender of bricks-and-mortar retail....Since his existential crisis, Wexner has devoted part of his time and fortune to philanthropy, funding leadership training and the Wexner Center for the Arts and Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University, his alma mater.....The typical lifespan of a fashion business, Wexner says, is 15 years. Most retail chains, whatever they sell, don’t survive beyond 20 or 30 years. Yet Wexner has been in charge for 55 years. Behind him in the Fortune 500 longevity stakes is Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor who has run Berkshire Hathaway for a mere 53. The key to survival, Wexner says, is to reinvent yourself as your shoppers evolve. “When the customer zigs, you zig.”

But he is facing his stiffest trial yet. Amazon, which has conquered a series of retail categories, is now getting into underwear. Online-only lingerie specialists are trying to steal Victoria’s Secret customers....His eventual point is that most people want to express their individuality, which has a lot to do with sexuality, which means lingerie is loaded with powerful “emotional content” for women.......I talk about the predictive power of data and algorithms (one of Amazon’s great assets) but he pooh-poohs their relevance. The response is similarly dismissive when I ask Wexner — who did not marry his lawyer wife Abigail until he was 55 — whether he sourced lingerie ideas from the women he dated. “N-n-nooo,” he says. “You can’t ask. Fashion is about latent demand. You can’t research it. If I say, ‘what colour are you going to buy next fall?’, no one is going to say, ‘I think purple’s going to be a great colour’.”
........He says the death of shops has been greatly exaggerated. Sure, 9,000 US stores closed last year by some estimates. Sure, habits are changing. People used to wile away four hours at the mall and visit 20 stores. Now they skip the mediocre shops and make a beeline for just one or two, Wexner says. But humans are still “pack animals” who like to mingle. And where they go, they spend more. Amazon is great for buying commodity products when you know exactly what you want. But fashion stores are about stumbling upon “things you haven’t seen before”, Wexner says. The doom-mongers are looking at average sales across all shops. “I think they’re missing the wheat from the chaff,” he says.
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Leslie_Wexner  Victoria's_Secret  moguls  CEOs  entrepreneur  retailers  L_Brands  intimate_apparel  personal_care_products  lingerie  bricks-and-mortar 
april 2018 by jerryking
Chinks emerge in the armour of prized malls
22 July/23 July 2017 | Financial Times | Miles Johnson.

A defining feature of the financial crisis was a group of hedge funds making vast sums by wagering against supposedly AAA-rated mortgage debt well before markets imploded in 2008.

Now some believe a similar story will play out for US shopping malls — that the most risky investments will end up being those that investors now believe to be the safest. Central to their premise is the idea that too much faith may be being placed in a classification system used for shopping malls that is little known outside of the real estate sector.....investors are also actively leaving the office and conducting field research.

In April researchers from a large US hedge fund travelled to the outer boroughs of New York to a shopping mall that is home to Apple and Armani among other retailers....To their surprise the researchers quickly came across a pop-up shop selling cheaply manufactured stuffed teddy bears and plastic toys. Two months later the store had disappeared....
The stock market has until recently appeared to believe that prime “A” malls are largely insulated from the pain being felt across a US retail sector being shaken by e-commerce.

Shares in Washington Prime, an operator of lower quality B and C classed malls, are down by half since the start of 2015. However, until recently shares in “prime” mall operators Simon Property Group and GGP had held up, underpinned by the belief that their A-quality malls in prime locations were safe from the challenge of online shopping.......Yet there is growing evidence to suggest that these prime malls, which have been treated by investors and lenders alike as rock solid bets in the face of the internet headwinds, are not as protected as once thought.

Shares in Simon Property, the largest Reit in America with a market value of $50bn, are down by almost 30 per cent over the past 12 months, having held up strongly to the middle of 2016. Short interest in Simon, which tracks the amount of shares hedge funds have borrowed to bet that its value will fall, rose to the highest level since the financial crisis last month, with bets worth more than $1bn.....The hedge funds wagering against the highest quality malls believe that the wider market will come to believe these A-quality malls are far more similar to lesser ranked ones. “This idea that there are these magic malls in America that are immune to secular change is a myth,” the US-based hedge fund manager says.

Some argue that the market under-appreciates that A class mall operators and B and C class mall operators all have very similar tenant bases, in spite of being in different locations. L Brands, the owner of lingerie chain Victoria’s Secret, is the largest single tenant for prime operator GGP, according to company filings.....it is also the biggest tenant for the lesser ranked CBL and second largest for Washington Prime.....Russell Clark of Horseman Capital notes the vulnerability malls have to the loss of single big brands, known as anchor tenants, with their departure often triggering a wave of rent loss with other tenants.

“Many tenants have a clause in their lease to reduce rents should an anchor close a store. Thus, even though the loss of rent due to an anchor closing is minimal, the knock-on effect of reduced rents from the remaining tenants is a serious concern,” he noted.....the hunt for opportunities to bet against quality malls outside the US. The share prices of Intu Properties and Hammerson, the UK’s largest publicly listed shopping centre operators, have not yet followed the falls seen in the shares of their largest tenants.
shopping_malls  commercial_real_estate  real_estate  MappedIn  mapping  hedge_funds  primary_field_research  pop-ups  store_closings  pretense_of_knowledge  illusions  under_appreciated  retailers  vulnerabilities  anchor_tenants  REITs  L_Brands  A-class  B-class  C-class  Victoria's_Secret 
july 2017 by jerryking

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