ARMANI’S BEIJING BASH
BRIDGET FOLEY’S DIARY
WINDOW-WATCHING AT BARNEYS PAGE 3
Sycamore to Buy Talbots for $369M
By VICKI M. YOUNG
FRIDAY, JUNE 1, 2012 ■ $3.00 ■ WOMEN’S WEAR DAILY
Beauty’s New World CEO SUMMIT 2012
For three days in May, top leaders of the global cosmetics industry gathered in Palm Beach, Fla., to explore the shifting landscape and emerging consumers that pose a riddle as well as a much-sought prize. For complete coverage, see pages 6 to 12.
THE TALBOTS INC. ended up with Sycamore Partners after all. Sycamore is buying the struggling women’s specialty chain for $193.3 million in cash. Including net debt, the transaction has a total value of $369 million. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter. The acquisition price will give shareholders $2.75 a share, less than the $3.05 a share that was previously put on the table by the private equity firm. The price per share that shareholders will receive is still far more than the closing price of Talbots’ stock on Wednesday, which was $1.29 a share. Shares of Talbots spiked 89.2 percent to $2.44 in trading Thursday on the Big Board. Stefan Kaluzny, managing director of Sycamore Partners, said his firm is looking forward to a “long and successful partnership with Talbots serving its many loyal customers.” Trudy Sullivan, Talbots’ president and chief executive officer, said, “Sycamore Partners is a strong investor with substantial resources and expertise, and we look forward to operating as a private company under their ownership.” Sullivan plans to step down at Talbots on June 30, or sooner if her successor is found. Thursday’s announcement was an abrupt change from a week ago, when the two said the exclusivity agreement they had to close on a transaction had expired without further extension. The news led investors to believe that Sycamore had walked away, since Talbots said it was weighing alternative options. There even was speculation that Talbots might be facing a bankruptcy before yearend if it couldn’t find a buyer. Talbots has been struggling with persistent losses, a multiyear decline of its stock price and liquidity concerns. Besides the retirement of Sullivan without identifying a successor, the chain also dismissed its chief creative officer, Michael Smaldone, in September. His position has not been filled. The retailer operates in SEE PAGE 4
Letter From London By SAMANTHA CONTI
E. Scott Beattie Zhuo “Joe” Wang
PHOTOS BY STEPHEN LEEK
LONDON — She was a fresh-faced 25-year-old on an official tour of Kenya with her husband of six years, Philip. Harry Truman was president of the United States and Winston Churchill was the British prime minister. And on Feb. 6, 1952, Elizabeth Windsor became Queen of England. Her coronation on June 2, 1953, seemed to herald a new era for Britain — for on the same day it was announced that a British-led team had conquered the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest. Flash-forward 60 years and it once again seems Britain’s time. The nation is preparing to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee — making her the second-longest-serving monarch after Queen Victoria. London is hosting the Summer Olympics for the first time since 1948. All that’s needed is for a Briton to win Wimbledon and it would seem the stars were in absolutely perfect alignment. That’s unlikely to happen, but nothing would surprise the 86-year-old monarch with the white set curls, megawatt smile and penchant for horse racing, homeopathic remedies, corgis and silk Hermès head scarves. Throughout her six-decade reign, she’s weathered family tragedy, scandal, mishaps and more — and has remained as implacable as Mount Everest itself. Her famous annus horribilis in 1992 — when she marked her 40 years as queen — was a particularly trying time in a difficult decade that saw her family behaving badly and public opinion for the monarchy hitting a low. Princess Diana’s death in 1997 — and the Queen’s initial failure to tune into the national SEE PAGE 16
WWD friday, june 1, 2012 11 WWD.COM
demographic discussion Three women representing three expanding key demographics for the beauty industry — the Baby-Xers, Latina women and the young digerati — shared their insights during a panel about the ever-evolving U.S. market. The roundtable discussion, led by Beauty Inc. editor Jenny B. Fine, included Lesley Jane Seymour, the editor in chief of more magazine; Graciela eleta, senior vice president of Univision, and eva Chen, the health and beauty director of Teen Vogue. “we have an emerging nation within our nation right here in our backyard, which is the U.S. Latino market,” said eleta, who added that within the
Eva Chen, Graciela Eleta and Lesley Jane Seymour chat with Jenny B. Fine.
next five years, 35 percent of all growth in beauty and personal care in the U.S. is expected to come from Latinas. “This consumer is beauty obsessed.” Another burgeoning beauty-craving demographic, created as a result of the increased blending of Gen-X and younger Baby Boomer consumers, is one Seymour dubbed Baby-X. “You have to think of J.Lo, Chelsea handler, this is a huge market and it’s 106 million strong,” said Seymour. “we have the highest household income, we are in the center of the workforce.” Seymour continued, “Life expectancy is getting longer and longer. It’s a whole market that people have just forgotten about.” For the young digerati generation, according to Chen, beauty is similarly integral — and attainable — making it a group to watch.
“I would challenge you to go to neiman marcus, go to Barneys new York, go after school on a Friday, it’s teenagers and it’s young people with way more than they should have because they don’t have jobs,” said Chen. “But they’re spending their parents’ money.” Digital — and how it is affecting each up-and-coming demographic — was another topic discussed by the panel. “our readers live and breathe the Internet,” said Chen, who added that they spend an average of nine hours a day on Facebook. “we’re looking at a point in time when teens and youth in general can influence the larger masses.” To wit, Chen said 91 percent of Teen Vogue readers use the phone while shopping and that about 80 percent sleep with their cell phones “literally either under their pillow or right next to them.” when asked about emerging social media platforms like Pinterest, Vidi and Tumblr, Chen urged beauty brands to get involved. “our readers are living online and if you’re not on it, you are missing out on the conversation,” said Chen, who also noted the trepidation many brands have about immersing themselves in the digital space. “You’re afraid of saying the wrong thing, you’re afraid of the backlash or scandal. You only need to look at [Anthony] weiner to understand that Twitter is not always a good tool.” According to eleta, Latinas are also extremely plugged into digital. “I’d say that Latinas were the original social media fans,” said eleta. “It’s no surprise today with a Latina population being 10 years younger, that we over index on so many of the social platforms, including mobile phones, smartphones and all of the new platforms.” Added Seymour, “our ladies are the fastest-growing group on Facebook.” — BELISA SILVA
surviving digital’s advances BrICk-AnD-morTAr retailers can survive the digital era by incorporating aspects of reaching consumers online as an avenue to drive both in-store and web sales. It is crucial to involve the vendor community and tap the assets they are developing, too. That’s the takeaway from a panel lead by Jo horgan, founder and chief executive officer of mecca Cosmetica, along with Louis Desazars, ceo of nars Cosmetics, and wendy Liebmann, ceo of wSL Strategic retail. horgan inspired discussion, asking how retailers can avoid becoming the dinosaurs of the Aughts, especially in markets where ordering online is not only easier but sometimes less expensive. “retail is no longer real estate,” suggested Liebmann. “what we are hearing is that if all we do is focus on the physical store, we will not engage customers. we have to build a different level of relationships and engagements.” Desazars said, “makeup is the perfect category to do that because it is visual and playful. I am amazed by the energy and the power of makeup as a category to engage customers.” That visual aspect was a key component of a successful nars program at mecca, he said, which helped consumers find fresh new beauty looks that were brought to life by makeup artists in the stores. horgan added that the makeup artistry was something “tangible” in the stores. “It allowed us to pull new customers into store and focus on our expertise artistry. And as a result we did over 2,000 applications that month and the average basket was $280.” Artistry, she noted, has become a key driver of her business that gets shoppers into stores — 20 percent of the business is through events and applications focusing on artistry. Liebmann used her expertise in other categories to deliver ideas for merging the digital and in-store experiences. She showed a German fish market that pumped in a “sound shower” to evoke the feeling of the sea. “we’ve distanced
industrY-Building a KeY BUILD YoUr InDUSTrY and you’ll build your company. That’s the advice from John Paul DeJoria, co-founder and chief executive officer of John Paul mitchell Systems. In his view, one avenue for achieving that mission is through philanthropic ventures. “People are becoming much more aware. now whether it’s a spiritual thing, whether it’s just all of a sudden we’re becoming smarter, who knows? But what is for sure is if you do things in the old way, it doesn’t relate to today’s new customer,” he said. he cited an example from the tequila industry and Patron, a company he started and is still a major owner of. The tequila industry as a whole, he said, has fostered sustainability, created jobs and donated to charities. “Did this help out the tequila industry? heck, yes. Tequila sales last year grew. Did it help out Patron? Last year, Patron became the number-one, by dollar volume, tequila company in the world. And we’re only 23 years old,” he said. relating his concept to beauty, DeJoria said the salon industry needed to change the method for training and graduating its students. “I invested 10 years ago in starting beauty schools throughout the United States. I’ve invest-
ed millions of dollars in beauty schools, and we have about 110 right now and a couple overseas that we’re starting. has it been very profitable for me? no. will it one day? I hope so. But is it profitable for my industry? You better believe it,” he said, adding that the effort gives dignity to the profession. Beyond learning how to provide top-notch services, students are trained in how to market the business. Altruism is part of the education, too, with every student required to spend part of their time raising money for their community, their state, their government and their “planet,” DeJoria said. raising money for good causes is now part of the culture of being a hairstylist, he said. not all graduates of his school wind up in Paul mitchell salons. “my competitors are helped out like you wouldn’t believe,” he quipped. “Perfectly okay. we want the industry to be built. we’ll graduate right now 16,000 students; same time next year, 20,000 students will be graduating from Paul mitchell schools.” Burnishing the image of an industry can produce better sales, he said, citing a new product with very expensive ingredients. The confidence consumers have in the items results in them spending $20 on a shampoo versus $10 or $11, he said.
Wendy Liebmann, Louis Desazars and Jo Horgan.
ourselves from sense of immediacy in the stores, where we’re so afraid people are going to spritz us so don’t make us too smelly, and yet it’s such an asset that we have in beauty,” she suggested. “That kind of multidimensional level of engagement is what the store has to be about. otherwise I don’t really have to go to the store anymore,” she said. “This notion of it’s either online or in the store, it’s the old speak, it’s not relevant anymore,” she continued. “It has to be one driving the other. Digital allows us to have that conversation all the time.” horgan added, “As a retailer, yes, we absolutely have to look at the whole digital arena, but to the other point, to make actual stores relevant we have to be so much sharper in what we do and take the assets that we can use online and really bring them alive off line, in store.” Liebmann also noted many consumers research online first then go for the experience. “For every dollar spent online, the people who go online to research, spend $4 in the store,” she said. She mentioned what she called the elephant in the room — Amazon and how the digital giant is now opening stores. “It’s comforting to know they need stores,” horgan said jokingly. whether digital is a panacea or not, the experts agreed the goal is to try everything in engaging the shopper. Desazars said, “You have to try, and if it doesn’t work, you pull the plug. That’s the great thing about digital, you have to keep trying.” — FAyE BrookmAn
John Paul DeJoria
“had we not helped raise the prestige of the people in the salon, where they came across as professional people, we could not successfully launch something with that price point. we have to raise the industry’s value, the industry’s image in order to do it,” said DeJoria. he urged the industry to increase its interest in sustainable products and those with no parabens and no sulfates —
despite them being more costly. he said, “But if my industry and your industries all get behind this, and everyone’s buying more ingredients that eliminate sulfates or parabens, my cost goes down, your cost goes down and we’re able to offer it to a whole bunch of people, a lot of great products, even more realistically priced, and still have some nice profit margins.” — F.B.
Published on Jun 1, 2012
For three days in May, top leaders of the global cosmetics industry gathered in Palm Beach, Fla., to explore the shifting landscape and emer...