Taking Private Label Seriously, Macy’s Hires a Target Veteran

Diving Brief:

  • Delivering on its pre-pandemic promise to reinvigorate its own-brand strategy, Macy’s on Monday advertised rental from private label veteran Target Emily Erusha-Hilleque.

  • Erushahilleque leads Macy’s private label design teams for apparel, central hub and home, working with merchandising and sourcing teams and reporting to chief merchandiser Nata Dvir, according to a company press release.

  • She was in merchandising at Target for two decades, she says LinkedIn page. Most recently, she led ready-to-wear, young contemporary private labels and design partnerships, and was responsible for the development of the Gen Z-focused Wild Fable line and forging links with Levi’s, Nili Lotan and Lego, among others, according to Macy’s release. .

Overview of the dive:

Macy’s follows Bed Bath & Beyond, which in 2019 poached former Target chief merchandiser Mark Tritton as CEO, turning to Target’s merchandising body to fulfill its own turnaround hopes.

It’s no wonder, considering Target has become a private label powerhouse, with nearly 50 brands in its stable, 10 of which are worth $1 billion each. Target has also been collaborating with top designers since the late 1990s.

In a statement, Dvir said a private label overhaul remains key to the department store’s Polaris turnaround strategy, which was put on ice as the pandemic overshadowed operations shortly after its unveiling. Macy’s had set a goal for private labels to account for 25% of sales by 2025. Familiar labels like INC International Concepts, Alfani, Style & Co and Charter Club were to be revamped, although at the time, the executives said they were already “well on their way” to each becoming a billion-dollar brand.

Last year, the department store branched out into new brands, launching the young “And Now This” over the summer. But the department store is now turning to someone who spent his entire career at Target as it continues down that path.

“Emily brings her leadership and expertise in building industry-disrupting brands and driving successful product design and merchandising strategies,” Dvir said in a statement Monday. “She has her finger on the pulse of the consumer and on trends. She will ensure that our private labels reflect the wants and needs of our customers across all categories.”

According to Kristin Bentz, president of KB Advisory Group, the move could be the “punch Macy’s desperately needs” to revive what is a collection of tired brands. “This hire is definitely a momentum forward, but you have to see that flow on the merchandise side and show some success on the store level,” she said over the phone. “You’re going to need at least three collections to show some stamina.”

ErushaHilleque will meet with entrenched Macy’s teams who may or may not be receptive to his insights, according to retail consultant Brian Kelly. “Will her new management team play ball with her? Or is this an effort to demonstrate to the street his intent to buy another goodwill quarterback? Kelly said via email. . But we’ve heard those promises before.”

Dvir herself is relatively new to Macy’s, having moved to the organization early last year to replace Macy’s veteran Patti Ongman, who had taken on the role of chief merchant a few years earlier and had presented the company’s private label strategy at the launch of Polaris.

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