I've discovered a cool information resource that Wall Street Insiders use to learn about the U.S. Retail Industry! It is the Goldman Sachs Retail Conference, which is apparently in its 17th year, (so i'm a little late to the party....what's new!?)
The Retail Conference,which is a 3 even day held at New York's Plaza Hotel (I didn't see the red carpet covered by Joan Rivers, so I guess we won't ever know what all the big CEOs were wearing--bummer!) is attended by "the who's who" in the Retail and Consumer Goods Industry with most presenting information about their 2010 current business and 2011 forecast business strategies.
Included in the all star line up of retailers is home furnishings retail giant William Sonoma Inc., which is the parent company of Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, PB Teen, and West Elm. In just the first 90 seconds of the 40 minute web-cast, Pat Connolly, EVP and Chief Marketing Officer revealed the following about William Sonoma (Pottery Barn).
- All brands 2nd quarter revenues were up 15%, and the Pottery Barn Brand specifically was up a "robust" 19% for the 2nd quarter.
- E-commerce revenues increased 28% in the 2nd quarter of 2010, resulting in record direct to customer earnings. (record earnings in this economy? no way!..Way! The US Government forecast for 2010 home furnishings sales are a modest 2% increase).
Pat Connolly and Sharon McCollam, EVP, COO, CFO continue for 40 minutes speaking about retail success, strategy, product development, global sourcing, cost control, the importance of great packing to decrease operating costs due to defect and damage claims, and much more!
Sure, William Sonoma and the other Retail Giants presenting at the Goldman Sachs Retail Conference aren't going to reveal their "secret sauce", but by listening to these web-cast for FREE we can glean a whole bunch of great retail industry knowledge including:
- Info about what's working and what's not in terms of price points and product.
- Future forecasts from the leading retailers, and how they have planned accordingly.
- Brick and Mortar, Catalog, Web, Social Media - what's working? What is the best ROI. How do they work in conjunction with each other? How do they cannibalize each other?
- Global sourcing trends. Cost increases. Freight increases and container shortages
- The importance of being on trend and having great product design to differentiate. And the importance of product innovation to maximize brand recognition, sales, and profits.
- National (licensed) vs.store brands - what is the best strategy for maximizing sales and profits?
- The importance of international scalability and understanding what is required of an international brand; Which brands and products are suited for global expansion.
Other Retail Giants presenting during the 3 Day Goldman Sachs 17th Annual Global Retailing Conference
- Dollar Tree, Inc.
- The Home Depot
- Wal-Mart, Walmart de México y Centroamérica
- Target Corporation
- Office Max, Inc
- Staples, Inc.
- PetSmart, Inc.
- Guess?, Inc.
- Delhaize Group (US: Banners: Food Lion, Bloom, Bottom Dollar, Harveys, Hannaford Bros., and Sweetbay, Additional Banners in Asia and Europe)
- Ross Stores, Inc.
You can find links to all the webcasts here or you can visit the investor page of the website for the company you are interested and there will be a link to listen to their portion of the webcast. (Did I mention all of this awesome information is for the giant price of Free!)