Macy’s has named Sharon Otterman chief marketing officer, a role that’s been vacant since last March. She joins the world’s largest department store in the midst of executive transition, with Tony Spring, president and CEO-elect, taking over from Jeff Gennette, who is retiring,
Until March, CMO marketing duties were handled by Rich Lennox, who had been chief brand officer and is now CMO at AutoNation. The role was then filled in the interim by Abigail James, Macy’s senior vice president of marketing.
Otterman will oversee strategic marketing, including brand activation, campaign advertising and content planning. The role also encompasses experiences like the Thanksgiving Day Parade, Macy’s July 4th Fireworks and the annual Spring Flower Show.
She was CMO at Caesars Entertainment, where she launched Caesars Sportsbook, a new sports betting brand in the U.S. She’s also been CMO at Madison Square Garden Company and NBCUniversal’s News Division and held key marketing roles at ESPN.
The retailer is in the middle of a significant transformational plan, and last week, it reported third-quarter results that show progress on those initiatives.
But while both top and bottom line results beat expectations, they still point to a retailer some say is losing touch with contemporary shoppers.
Sales slid 7% to $5 billion for the quarter, with digital sales falling 7% as well.
At Bloomingdale’s, comparable sales dropped 3.2%.
Net income fell to $43 million from $108 million last year.
“Macy’s is struggling to stay relevant as consumers have many choices,” writes David Swartz, an analyst who follows the company for Morningstar. “The company's fleet of more than 500 full-line stores limits its options,” he adds, including many in weaker malls that are likely not viable long-term.
“The company does not need its vast selling space, as department stores have been losing market share to ecommerce and other retailers (outlets, branded stores, specialty stores, discounters) for years, and we think the virus caused this trend to accelerate.”