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为了生存,零售商在2018年要做什么?

Phil Wahba 2018年01月04日

随着2017年零售业的大洗牌结束,幸存者们需要向消费者和华尔街表明,在存活下来并从一个又一个零售业危机中反弹以外,他们可以做到更多。

零售商们借助经济的走强,以及对亚马逊(Amazon.com)时代的努力适应,似乎已经开始摆脱多年来的萎靡。

塔吉特(Target)和科尔士百货(Kohl’s)等公司在电子商务领域投资了数十亿美元,用于改造门店来支持网络订单等。如今,它们终于开始获取回报。沃尔玛(Walmart)的策略也从防御转向进攻,在技术领域大规模投资,提高了数十万家门店的员工收入,还对食品杂货的陈列方式进行了大幅改进。甚至连Gap Inc、American Eagle Outfitters和Abercrombie & Fitch 等服装连锁店也有了更好的业绩。

不过随着2017年零售业的大洗牌结束,幸存者们需要向消费者和华尔街表明,在存活下来并从一个又一个零售业危机中反弹以外,他们可以做到更多。他们已经有了几年时间来适应和应对亚马逊的威胁,弄清自己的定位。任何在2018年表现不佳的零售商,都只能归咎于自己的高管,再没有其他借口了。

梅西(Macy’s)等百货公司多年来都在讨论变革和新举措,明年是时候行动起来了,否则,你懂的。沃尔玛如今势头正盛,有人甚至认为他们勉强可以和亚马逊掰掰手腕,不过他们也要证明自己能在网络消费者的心目中占有类似的分量。Gap和Abercrombie等公司花费了数年时间来加速生产、调整运营,以便灵活地应对潮流趋势。而Tapestry’s旗下品牌蔻驰(Coach)、迈克·柯尔(Michael Kors)和蒂芙尼(Tiffany & Co)等奢侈品牌也大刀阔斧改进产品。所以,如今是时候看看回报了。

以下是我们将在2018年关注的一些零售商。

1)沃尔玛下一个要购买或入主的会是哪家公司?

沃尔玛在2017年收购了Bonobos、Modcloth和Moosejaw,由于公司试图阻击亚马逊在时尚界的进军,吸引更多购物者来到他们收购的Jet.com或自家门店,他们可能会继续收购重视数字化的时尚品牌。这家平价超市也将为加拿大零售集团HBC旗下表现挣扎的Lord & Taylor开设网店,此举可能也会应用于其他品牌,因为沃尔玛试图像其他许多亚洲的竞争对手那样,成为一家网上商城。

Retailers seem to be pulling out of their years-long malaise, helped by a strong economy and their own efforts to finally adapt to the Amazon.com (AMZN, +0.48%)world.

Companies like Target (TGT, -1.05%)and Kohl’s (KSS, -2.78%) are finally starting to reap the dividends of billions in investments in e-commerce, such as retrofitting stores so they support online orders. Walmart has gone from defensive mode to offense, with big investments in tech to go with the raises its given to hundreds of thousands of store employees and major improvements to how its grocery offerings are presented. Even apparel chains like Gap Inc (GPS, -1.35%), American Eagle Outfitters (AEO, -1.21%) and Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF, -4.20%) are doing better.

But with the major shakeout in retail of 2017 out of the way, survivors will have to show customers and Wall Street that they can do more than just survive and bounce from one retail crisis to another. They’ve had several years now to adapt and react to Amazon’s threat and figure out what they stand for. Any retailer that has a poor 2018 has no one to blame but its own executives.

Department stores like Macy’s (M, -4.51%) have been talking changes and new initiatives for years, so next year is the time to put up or well, you know. Walmart is flying high now, even seen as an underdog to Amazon, but has to show that it can truly be a counterweight to its rival in online shoppers’ consideration set. The likes of Gap and Abercrombie have had several years to speed up their production process and shake up operations to be more flexible in reacting to fashion trends. And luxury players like Tapestry’s (TPR, -0.69%)Coach brand, Michael Kors, and Tiffany & Co (TIF, +0.06%) have made major moves to refine their offerings. So now is the time to see the payoff.

Here are some of the retail stories we will be watching in 2018.

1) Who Will Walmart.com Buy or Host Next?

Walmart, coming off a year of acquisitions like those of Bonobos, Modcloth and Moosejaw, will likely continue to buy hip digital-first brands as it looks to counter Amazon’s moves in the fashion world and attract more well-heller shoppers to Jet.com if not its own site. The discounter will also begin hosting an online store for HBC’s struggling Lord & Taylor chain, a move that likely presages lining up other brands as Walmart tries to become an online mall as many of its Asian rivals have.

2)哪些大型零售商将会退市,从而避开华尔街的注目?
201148日周五,美国特拉华州,消费者正离开诺德斯特龙,进入ChristianaChristiana Mall威廉·托马斯·凯恩/彭博社、盖蒂图片社

据传闻,由于投资者不太愿意以诺德斯特龙(Nordstrom Inc.)创始者希望的价格将其退市,该公司在受伤之下,暂停了私有化的进程。不过该计划可能在2018年重启,谁能责怪他们呢——由于投资者对百货超市的前景不太看好,尽管这家高端零售商的业绩有所提高,但是股价却萎靡不振。类似的,如果Dillard’s、HBC和Barnes & Noble等零售商开始考虑私有化的可能性,你也不用感到惊讶。

事实上,华尔街的许多投资者认为,零售商的房地产和销量产生的现金才是价值所在,而基础的零售业务对股价几乎没有任何贡献。不过与投资者不指望获取大量利润的亚马逊不同,许多传统零售商没有获得华尔街的允许去承担很大风险,或进行大幅调整来进行现代化。退市可以让他们有更大的空间放手去做。

3)折扣店会在2018年会举步维艰吗?

T.J. Maxx和Marshalls的母公司TJX 11月的财报显示,他们的季度可比销售额首次出现下滑。许多观察者都怀疑这家折扣店巨头在积极扩张门店多年之后要回归正常。一个疲软的季度,现在还不足以证明趋势变了。不过看看诺德斯特龙的Rack连锁店和HBC的Saks Off Fifth连锁店,他们也都表现挣扎。Neiman Marcus’也决定把Last Call直销店的数量关闭近一半。这很容易让你开始怀疑,折扣和直销的概念是否已经在过去几年的疯狂开店之后耗尽了发展空间。

对于该领域而言,新年是一个证明他们可以适应各种激烈竞争的机会。其中一些竞争来自梅西百货的Backstage折扣店概念,以及百货商场和品牌更好的规划。另外,还有一些品牌也开始对折扣店日益厌恶。确实,拉尔夫·劳伦(Ralph Lauren)和迈克·柯尔等品牌已经明确表示他们希望撤出折扣店,那里无法产生持续的销量,却影响了品牌的光环。

4)破产和关店的情况会更多出现

零售业的财富增加无法惠及所有公司,许多债台高筑的连锁店仍然在遭遇销售额的跳水。尽管2017年类似的清洗不太可能出现,但放血现象还将继续。正如CNBC在本月早些时候报道的,Moody’s所谓的观察列表,即那些拥有违约风险的零售商,已经从2017年夏天的22家增加到了27家,而惠誉评级公司(Fitch Ratings)也预测违约数会在2018年上升。

Nordstrom (JWN, -1.09%) has hit the pause button on its go-private initiative, reportedly hurt by tepid interest by investors to take it off the stock market at the price the founding family wants. But the Nordstroms will likely be back in 2018 and who can blame them—the high end retailer’s stock has been brought down by worries about the department store sector’s woes, despite its own better results. Similarly, don’t be surprised if retailers like Dillard’s, HBC and Barnes & Noble at least explore going private.

The truth is that many on Wall Street only see value in retailers’ real estate and the cash their sales generate, with the basic retail business contributing almost nothing to their shares. So unlike Amazon, which investors don’t expect to make mounds of profit, many traditional retailers don’t get the latitude from Wall Street to take big risks and make the major moves that would modernize them. Being private could give them more latitude to do so.

3) Will Off-Price Stumble in 2018?

When T.J. Maxx and Marshalls parent TJX (TAX, -1.34%) reported the chains’ first quarterly comparable sales drop in memory in November, many observers wondered whether the off-price juggernaut was running its course after years of aggressive store expansion. Now one soft quarter does not a new trend make. But when you look at how Nordstrom’s Rack chain and HBC’s Saks Off Fifth stores are also struggling, as well as Neiman Marcus’ decision to close almost half of its Last Call outlet stores, it’s easy to wonder whether the off-price/outlet concept has reached its peak after an incredible number of store openings in the last few years.

The new year will be a chance for the sector to show that it can adapt to all the intense competition, some of it coming from concepts like Macy’s Backstage, along with better planning by department stores and brands and growing aversion from some brands. Indeed, some names such as Ralph Lauren and Michael Kors have said clearly they want to dial back their presence in off-price retail, an avenue that does generate consistent sales but also hurts a brand’s aura.

4) More bankruptcies and store closings are likely

Retail’s improving fortunes won’t lift all boats and many debt-laden chains are still seeing sharp sales declines. So while a purge akin to 2017’s unlikely, the bloodletting will continue. As CNBC reported earlier this month, Moody’s so-called watch list, where it is tracking retailers at risk of defaulting, has risen to 27 companies from 22 companies this summer, while Fitch Ratings expects defaults to rise next year.

5)梅西百货最终会扭亏为盈吗?

纽约州纽约——9月7日讯: 2016年9月7日,在纽约麦迪逊广场花园剧院(The Theater at Madison Square Garden)的2016年纽约时装周(New York Fashion Week)上,梅西百货的总裁杰夫·甘尼特出现在了Macy's Presents Fashion的前排。(摄影:罗伊·骆骑领)

梅西百货的新任首席执行官杰夫·甘尼特花费了三十年时间来到现在的位置,而他上任后的头九个月相当繁忙。他重新调整了梅西百货的忠诚度计划,遏制了梅西臭名昭著的官僚主义希望让公司更加灵敏,从eBay招来了一批新的电子商务专家,着手开始改善门店的杂乱摆放,并努力摆脱梅西的折扣店形象。不过,除非这家百货店能够结束连续11个月可比销售额下滑的态势,否则投资者不可能被他打动。即便到了那时,他仍然还有许多工作要做,《财富》上个月在一篇重头文章中对此有过详细阐述。梅西百货在垂死挣扎的商场里设置了太多门店,对许多品牌而言,梅西的地位也越来越不重要,因为这些品牌正努力直接接触消费者。

Macy’s new CEO Jeff Gennette has spent a busy first nine months on the job he spent three decades building up to. He has rejigged Macy’s loyalty program, slashed through Macy’s notorious bureaucracy in the hopes of making it more nimble, hired some new top e-commerce away from eBay and begun to improve the clutter in his stores and chip away at Macy’s discount-driven aura. But investors will only be swayed once the department store ends its 11 quarter-streak of comparable sales declines. And even then much work would remain to be done, as Fortune detailed in a major article last month. Macy’s has too many stores in dying malls and is less and less crucial to brands, many of which are ramping up their direct-to-consumer efforts.

6)涉及亚马逊和沃尔玛的奇怪合作,未来还会出现多少?

iStock/盖蒂图片社

零售商面临的挑战,导致了2017年一些违反直觉的交易:科尔士开始在一些门店处理亚马逊的退货;西尔斯百货(Sears)开始在亚马逊销售家用电器;沃尔玛开始纳入Lord & Taylor;沃尔玛收购了Bonobos。由于行业出现了根本性的变化,零售商试图改变思路,2018年这种情况可能还会更多。大型连锁店预计还会更多地并购电子商务公司和物流供应商(例如塔吉特最近就以5.5亿美元收购了Shipt),因为他们试图在物流、店内展示和订单处理上超越竞争对手。

7)服装业会复苏吗?

2018年底,会有一些复苏的苗头,有迹象表明服装的销售额在The Gap和Abercrombie等连锁店已经开始稳定。他们有义务展现出自己近来的改善并非巧合。此外,亚马逊也在生产自己的服装品牌,塔吉特的自家品牌Cat & Jack和新的Goodfellow & Co男士服装品牌也都取得了成功。梅西、科尔士和J.C. Penney还在继续开发自有品牌。考虑到这些,我们可以预测,服装依旧是零售业竞争最激烈的领域之一。

Retail’s existential crisis made for some counterintuitive deals in 2017: Kohl’s handling Amazon returns at some stores; Sears selling appliances on Amazon; Walmart hosting Lord & Taylor on its site; Walmart buying Bonobos. Expect more of that in 2018 as retailers look to change their thinking given the fundamental change shaking the industry up. And look for more acquisitions of e-commerce companies and logistics suppliers (like Target’s recent purchase of Shipt for $550 million) by the large chains as they look to outdo each other on delivery, in-store presentation and order pick up.

7) Will apparel make a comeback?

There were some green shoots at the end of 2018, with signs showing apparel sales stabilizing at chains like The Gap and Abercrombie. The onus will be on them to show the improvements of late where no fluke, all the more given the inroads Amazon is making in its own private label clothing brands, and the out-of-the-box success of Target’s (TGT, -1.05%) house brands like Cat & Jack and its new Goodfellow & Co menswear line. And Macy’s, Kohl’s and J.C. Penney continue to work on their house brands, so expect apparel to remain one of retail’s most difficult areas.

8)安德玛(Under Armour)和耐克会回到正轨吗?

2016816日周二,一位消费者正在美国加利福尼亚州圣塔莫尼卡第三街长廊(Third Street Promenade)的Foot Locker Inc.门店内浏览耐克鞋。Foot Locker Inc.预计将在819日公布财报。摄影:帕特里克·T·法隆/彭博社、盖蒂图片社

这两家运动服装品牌近来都在北美受挫,2018年重要的话题之一,就在于他们能否抑制阿迪达斯(Adidas),处理好鞋类销售疲软与运动服装供过于求的这两大冲击市场的问题,重新回到正轨。(财富中文网)

译者:严匡正

Both sportswear brands have languished of late in North America, and one of the big stories next year will be whether they can get back on track by pushing back at Adidas and contend with softness in footwear sales in the industry and the glut of athletic wear that has hit the market.

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