Posts Tagged ‘Plummersearch’


Monday, April 14th, 2014

Plummer & Associates, a New Canaan, Connecticut based executive search firm has just completed  a study that shows that 15% of the CEOs in the fashion industry are women. This compares favorable with the retail industry in which 8% are women and the Fortune 500 in which 4.2% are women. The conclusion is that the odds are better in the fashion industry for women seeking to be a CEO.



Plummer & Associates is a boutique executive search firm that serves the consumer direct industry (retail, retail services, ecommerce, mcommerce, fashion, apparel, catalog, direct sales, food service, restaurant, and hospitality segments). The firm also works with venture capital and private equity funds on their consumer direct portfolio companies. Plummer & Associates is based in New Canaan, Connecticut and serves clients in North America and globally. We recruit senior level executives to become respected team members/leaders and who prove themselves over the short-term as well as the longer-term. Plummer & Associates is well-known as it provides over 7,500 senior executives with important industry reports throughout the year.

For more information, we recommend you visit our website: and our blog:

John Plummer

Plummer & Associates, Inc.

PO Box 607

New  Canaan,  Connecticut 0607




Monday, April 14th, 2014

Click below to view this report:

Retail Comp Sales History-march2014

This is the retail comp sales report for March, 2014 produced by Michael Luce at Tri Channel Strategies. We are pleased to provide this most comprehensive report to you.

As you will see, specialty retail continued to be difficult. The mass retail and food & drug sectors did much better.

John Plummer

Plummer & Associates



Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

We at Plummer & Associates like to boast about our ability to recruit executives  who are successful both in the short- and the longer-term with our clients.  This article below is a good example of our work.

In 2012 we recruited Mr. Jason Mazzola to Citi Trends as the General Merchandise Manager. Jason knows the off-price business and the value customer.  He, together with the CEO, Ed Anderson, put together a merchandising strategy which led the company to a successful business turnaround. This is especially important as other retailers catering to this customer are failing.

This article is from Motley Fool, March 28, 2014.


How Citi Trends’ Business Model Laid the Foundation for Its Turnaround

How Citi Trends’ Business Model Laid the Foundation for Its Turnaround

By Mark Lin | More Articles | Save For Later
March 28, 2014 | Comments (0)


Source: Wikimedia Commons by Michael Rivera

Retail is a tough business, given the sheer number of competitors mostly selling the same undifferentiated products. Citi Trends (NASDAQ: CTRN  ) , a value-priced retailer of urban fashion apparel and accessories, is one of the few to have survived and even thrived. It holds a proud record of having increased its revenues in every year from fiscal 2004 to 2013. Although Citi Trends suffered losses in fiscal 2012 and 2013, it managed to turn around its operations and register a profit in fiscal 2014.

While the return of previous CEO Ed Anderson and the recruitment of the former General Merchandise Manager from The TJX Companies (NYSE: TJX  ) Jason Mazzola as Chief Merchandising Officer in 2012 were credited for Citi Trends’ return to profitability, it was the back-to-basics approach that worked. Firstly, Citi Trends did less upfront direct purchases (from manufacturers) and chose to focus more on its more traditional and prudent off-price and closeout buying strategy. Secondly, it tried to sell more non-branded ladies fashion and accessories appealing to its core customer demographic.

Clear customer value proposition
Citi Trends has a more precise definition of its customer demographic than its off-price competitors. Ross Stores (NASDAQ: ROST  ) places its customers in two different groups at the extreme ends of the income spectrum: those who “want a bargain” and those who “need a bargain.” TJX goes one step better than Ross Stores, defining its core customers more specifically as consumers with annual incomes ranging from $50,000 to $1 million, aged 25-54.

In contrast, Citi Trends’ core customer demographic is more focused and also narrower, suggesting that Citi Trends has a better ability to adapt its offerings to suit customers’ needs. Most of its customer sport median household incomes lie in the $20,000-$40,000 range. As opposed to the average U.S. consumer, Citi Trends’ core customers tend to prefer a mix of the affordability offered by off-price apparel and the “fashionability” of urban apparel. Citi Trends offers the best of both worlds as a value-priced retailer of urban fashion apparel.

Varied sourcing approaches
Citi Trends also adopts a sourcing model differentiated from its off-price peers. TJX has a strong emphasis on pre-season purchases. While this brings TJX substantial purchase discounts, it also means that TJX has to bear the risk that the pre-season purchases are unpopular with consumers in the upcoming season. On the other hand, Ross Stores concentrates its buying with in-season and end-of-season packaway merchandise. The issue here is that if fashion trends change dramatically, Ross Stores’ packaway merchandise will be perceived as out-of-fashion items and sales will suffer.

In contrast to TJX and Ross Stores, Citi Trends is far more opportunistic. It is varied in terms of its sourcing approaches, covering the entire gamut from in-season close-out purchases, next season buys, and upfront purchases where manufacturers will tailor products specifically to Citi Trends’ needs. Although Citi Trends’ 2012 losses were partially attributed to an over-emphasis on upfront purchases, it subsequently shifted its focus back to a larger proportion of off-price purchases. Notwithstanding the risk associated with its varied sourcing model, Citi Trends’ opportunistic style makes it more likely that it will benefit from market trends and meet its customers’ needs.

Strong supplier relationships
Citi Trends’ unique business practices helps to build strong supplier relationships. It pays its suppliers on time and doesn’t subscribe to industry practices of seeking promotional and markdown allowances. It is possible to draw parallels with the stance adopted by another successful organic & natural foods retailer Whole Foods Market.

Whole Foods Market doesn’t accept slotting fees, so it does away with the need to compromise on guaranteed shelf space. Instead, Whole Foods Market focuses on putting goods on its shelves that it knows its customers will like. More importantly, its suppliers will be appreciative of the fact that Whole Foods Market doesn’t eat into their margins with additional fees such as slotting fees.

Foolish final thoughts
For the full year 2013, both TJX and Ross Stores delivered good results, growing their EPS by 15% and 13% respectively. On the other hand, Citi Trends registered a positive profit of just $1.5 million in FY 2013, after losses in FY 2011 and FY 2012. While Citi Trends’ 2013 profit is small relative to earnings in the $20 million range that it once achieved, it should be noted that Citi Trends was still in the process of turnaround during FY 2013, having closed nine stores and relocated six others in the year.

Success doesn’t come by chance. Citi Trends’ revenue stability and its ability to engineer a turnaround suggest that there’s something that works with its business model. In my opinion, its clear customer value proposition, varied sourcing approaches and strong supplier relationships are the key building blocks of its successful turnaround.

Good stocks have to stand the test of time and crises. Citi Trends has successfully turn around its operations from losses to positive earnings, bearing testimony to the resilience of its business model. The Motley Fool’s chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for 2014, and it’s one of those stocks that could make you rich. You can find out which stock it is in the special free report “The Motley Fool’s Top Stock for 2014.” Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.

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Plummer & Associates is a New Canaan, Connecticut, based executive search firm which specializes in the recruitment of senior executives for the Consumer Direct industry (retail, retail services, ecommerce, mcommerce, direct sales, catalog, food service, hospitality, and restaurants). The firm is known for recruiting teams to build businesses, support aggressive growth, and accomplish business turnarounds. Contact: Plummer & Associates, Phone 800 603 9981.  Web: Email: Mailing address: P.O Box 607 New Canaan Ct 06840 0607.


Saturday, March 8th, 2014


Retail Comp Sales History FEBRUARY 2014










Monday, March 3rd, 2014

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For your downloadable copy:






Monday, February 24th, 2014


Ohio Stores – Halle Brothers Company – Cleveland


Halle Brothers was the upscale department store for Cleveland. It was founded in 1891 by Samuel Horatio Halle and his brother, Salmon Portland Chase Halle. The first store was located in Public Square, and later moved to Euclid Avenue and 4th. The large headquarters store on Euclid Avenue was opened in 1927. The company first started suburban expansion in 1929 with the opening of stores in Erie, Pa, Mansfield, New Castle, Pa, and Canton,

 Halle’s grew dramatically during WW2, and shortly afterwards as the Cleveland economy boomed. The store was noted for its high end merchandise, and superior customer service. The store was considered to be among the best stores in the U.S. In 1948, the company opened another store in Shaker Square.

During the 1960s, the company faced hard times as did the City of Cleveland. East Cleveland deteriorated as Sterling-Lindner and Bonwit-Teller stores closed. Shoppers from the suburbs who took the trains into downtown tended to shop at stores near the terminal (May Company and Higbee’s), and preferred not to take a shuttle bus down to Halle Brothers. The company continued to open suburban stores to counteract the losses developing at the downtown stores. These included: Shaker Square, Cedar Center, Westgate, Southland, Severance, Summit Mall, Beldon Village, and Mill Creek. This increased the store count to 15.

In 1970, Marshall-Fields bought Halle’s and did little to stem the declines at Halle Brothers as Marshall Fields faced issues with its’ other business operations.

In 1981, the company was sold to an investor group led by Jerome Schottenstein, the owner of Value City stores. The sale included the chains stores located in Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The investor group closed stores down to a six-store chain, and then liquidated the entire chain in 1982.

Plummer & Associates Recruits VP Marketing for Thrift Books

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Following is the announcement from Thrift Books:


Thrift Books LLC announces the addition of Matt Sand to serve as Vice President of Marketing, effective February 2, 2014. He will report to the president of Thrift Books, Mike Ward.

Sand, a veteran database marketing executive, spent the last year consulting for teen apparel retailer Zumiez. Previously, he spent five years leading the database marketing and business intelligence teams at BuySeasons, an online party supply and costume retailer headquartered outside of Milwaukee, WI. Prior to this he spent several years in key marketing roles for Seattle area retailers Sur La Table and Eddie Bauer. He began his career managing book stores for Barnes & Noble in the Washington, DC area.

“Joining the executive team at Thrift Books is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Sand. “This unique company has grown in a very few years from a couple of guys selling books out of a room in Kirkland to the industry leading seller of used books online. I look forward to partnering with everyone at Thrift Books to continue the trajectory of spectacular growth.”

“Matt is an extremely innovative and experienced executive, and will be a crucial part of our team as we work to unlock the huge opportunities we see in our business,” said Mike Ward, President of Thrift Books. “We know Matt will guide our customer focused efforts in the right direction, and we are excited to have his creative leadership at Thrift Books.”

Sand is a native of the Seattle area where he lives with his wife. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania as well as a Master of Science in Finance degree from Seattle University.

Thrift Books LLC is the largest online seller of used books in North America, and probably the world. Founded in 2003, Thrift Books has 11 distribution affiliates throughout the United States that purchase, sort and distribute used books. Based in Seattle, Washington, Thrift Books relies on proprietary software to identify, value, sell, and ship used books using a variety of online platforms, including Backed by KCB Management, Thrift Books has experienced explosive growth with a keen commitment to smart pricing, high customer satisfaction, and world class supply chain management.


Plummer & Associates is a highly regarded boutique executive search firm specializing in the consumer direct industry (retail, retail services, ecommerce, mcommerce, catalog, direct sales, food service, restaurant, hospitality, and fashion apparel). Our firm has a track record of recruiting senior level team members who are immediately successful and also who become critical team members over the longer term. We are particularly well-known for building teams to lead high growth companies as well as teams to lead business turnarounds. Plummer & Associates is headquartered in New Canaan, Connecticut. The phone number is 800 603 9981 and our web address is


Wednesday, February 19th, 2014


Plummer & Associates recruited Mr. Rick Martinez to as Vice President – Operations. Thrift Books is a privately held and successful online retailer of used book. The company is based in the Seattle area and has fulfillment centers throughout the U.S. Sales are primarily through and its own site.

Mr. Martinez is responsible for all inbound merchandise as well as all fulfillment and shipping operations. He reports to the President, Mr. Mike Ward. Mr. Martinez brings extensive fulfillment operations and shipping experience from Cutter & Buck, Griot’s Direct Auto Supply, and FedEX.

Plummer & Associates is a boutique executive search firm based in New Canaan, Connecticut that specializes in serving the consumer direct industry (retail, retail services, ecommerce, direct sales, mcommerce, catalog, food service, restaurant, and hospitality). For more information, phone (800) 603 9981 or visit our website:


Friday, February 14th, 2014

Lazarus 3 LocationsLazarus 1907 outsideLazarus 1910 OutsideLazarus outside 1960's 1Lazarus outside 1960's 2Lazarus Columbus CampusLazarus Night approx 1910Lazarus first floor book shop Lazarus first floor escalator Lazarus first floor Meens Shoes lazarus First Floor Mens Hats Lazarus first floor Niagra Soda Fountain Lazarus First Floor South Aisle Lazsrus fist floor men's furnishingsLazarus Balcony BirdCageLazarus balcony haircuttingLazarus balcony Ladies Rest RoomLazarus balcony Ladies Rest RoomLazarus Balcony Men's Smoking RoomLazarus Third Floor Baby DepartmentLazarus second floor mens and boysLazarus 3rd floor ladies costume roomLazarus 3rd floor muslin underwear and laides sweatersLazarus 3rd floor Rest RoomLazarus Third Floor Baby DepartmentLazarus Kinderland 2Lazarus Kiinderland 4lazarus kinderland 3Lazarus KinderlandLazarus MillinaryLazarus Third Floor Baby DepartmentLazarus 5th Floor Pavillion RestaurantLazarus BandLazarus Display 1Lazarus Display 2.Lazarus Display 3Lazarus Display 6Lazarus Display 7Lazarus Display 8Lazarus Display 9Lazarus DisplayLazarus S&H StampsLazarus Santa FrontLazarus Santa BackLazarus Santa Wireless


Lazarus, as this department store chain was known, was founded in 1851 by Mr. Simon Lazarus. He had come to Columbus to become a rabbi and ended up opening a small store (one room) on Town Street. At the time, the store only offered menswear.

In 1877, after the death of Simon Lazarus his two sons, Fred and Ralph, took control of the store and started using showmanship to attract customers. For example, in 1890 they contracted with Niagara Soda Fountain to open a shop within the store selling ice cream, ice cream floats and sarsaparilla. After the two brothers took charge, the name was changed to F& R Lazarus.

The store continued to grow so that in 1909 an amazing six story store was built at High and Rich Streets. At 115,000 square feet, it was much larger than needed at the time. However, by 1921 the store was totally occupied and the company was ready for another expansion as it added additional merchandise categories. The company acquired the Columbus theatre to allow for more selling space, making the store the powerhouse retailer in downtown Columbus. At its peak, the store operated buildings covering an entire city block with the main entrance at High and Front Streets.

F & R Lazarus became known for many innovations in the retail industry:

            – One Low Price (no bargaining necessary)

            -First escalators in a department store

            -First air conditioned department store

            -Early adopter of a generous return policy (no questions asked)

The company was known for its social awareness:

            -Became a major employer of women.

            -Became a major employer of physically challenged.

The downtown store was famous for its Christmas activities. It sponsored a major Christmas Parade for the Friday after Thanksgiving Day to compete with the Macy’s Parade in New York City. Elaborate window displays drew major crowds.  A small platform was erected in front of the windows to give children a better view. On the sixth floor, next to the toy department, the auditorium was converted to Christmas scenes and place to meet with Santa.

In 1928, F & R Lazarus acquired the John Shillito Company based in Cincinnati and operated it as a separate business. In 1929, the company worked with Bloomingdale’s (NY), Filene & Sons Co (Boston), and Abraham & Straus (Brooklyn) to form Federated Department Stores.

Lazarus was late to the game in expanding suburban stores, but then it became a powerhouse in the Midwest.

  • The first suburban store was opened in 1962 on West Broad Street in Columbus. At first this store was a failure but became successful as it became a part of Westland Mall.


  • The second suburban store was opened in 1964 in Northland Mall. This store was an immediate success.


  • In 1973, Lazarus expanded outside Ohio with a store in Indianapolis.


  • In 1981, they opened a store in Huntington, West Virginia.


  • In 1986, Lazarus merged with the Shillito’s and Rike’s divisions of Federated Department Stores giving them locations in the Dayton and Cincinnati markets.


  • In 1987, Federated acquired the William H. Block Company in Indianapolis and the Herpolsheimer’s in Grand Rapids from Allied Stores and converted those stores to Lazarus.


  • In 1994, Federated acquired the Joseph Horne Company in Pittsburgh and converted those stores to Lazarus.


  • In 2003, Lazarus stores were combined into Macy’s and co-branded Lazarus Macy’s. That same year, the downtown store in Columbus closed.


  • In 2005, the Lazarus name was erased and all stores became Macy’s.


What happened????

The decline of Lazarus was a result of many reasons:

  • Lazarus had weak leadership in the end. Leadership turnover was high and no one was able to fend off the competition from specialty retailers nor the consumer’s desire to avoid the malls.


  • Lazarus’s expenses were high and kept eroding profitability.


  • The department store segment was consolidating to reduce the expenses of operating separate division headquarters.


  • Department stores were no longer the place for manufactures to showcase their goods. There were too many other retailers available who could offer the manufacturers better business growth with locations more convenient to the consumer and often at prices more advantageous to the consumer.


I know that there are so many of you who have shopped at or worked at F & R Lazarus. I hope you will share your memories with others as you look through these old postcards depicting Lazarus.

Women are smashing the glass ceiling in the retail industry.

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

 Women are smashing the glass ceiling in the retail industry.

According to a recently completed study by Plummer & Associates, women are breaking through the ‘glass ceiling’ by becoming CEOs in the retail industry at a greater pace than in all other industries listed on the Fortune 500. At the end of 2013, there were 8 female CEO’s in the top 100 retailers (8/100 = 8%) as compared to 23 female CEOs in the Fortune 500 (23/500=4.6%). Plummer & Associates expects this trend to continue as more female executives are rising through the ranks in retail.


Plummer & Associates is a boutique executive search firm based in New Canaan, Connecticut that specializes in serving all direct-to-consumer businesses (bricks and mortar retail, e-commerce retail, m-commerce retail, retail services. food service, restaurant, hospitality, direct sales, and catalog retailing). Plummer & Associates is known for its  ‘business fit’ and intellectual executive search processes in the recruitment of senior level team members who are successful in the short – and over the longer-term.

For more information, we recommend you visit our website: and our blog: Our telephone number is: 800-603-9981.