aNb Media News, February 2, 2010

Dickson Leaves Mattel for Jones Apparel; Kilpin Upped at Mattel

Jones Apparel Group, Inc., announced the appointment of Richard Dickson to the position of president and CEO of the branded businesses of Jones Apparel Group, Inc., effective February 8, 2010. Concurrent with this appointment, Wesley Card’s title will change from president and CEO to CEO. Dickson will report directly to Wesley Card and will be responsible for management of the company’s wholesale and retail businesses worldwide.

Dickson has significant leadership, general management, and merchandising experience working for major brands with global recognition, including Mattel, Inc., Bloomingdale’s, and Estee Lauder Companies. Most recently, Dickson was at the helm of the Barbie brand globally, as general manager and senior vice-president, Barbie, Mattel, Inc., where he revitalized the 50-year-old, iconic brand and drove a turnaround for its business, which spans toys, entertainment, digital/online, retail, and more than 45 different consumer products categories worldwide.

Prior to joining Mattel in 2000, Dickson had spent more than 10 years at Bloomingdale’s in a variety of positions before launching, an e-commerce beauty website he helped build. was acquired by Estee Lauder Companies in 2000 and Dickson was appointed vice-president of brand management and merchandising for Estee Lauder Companies new online business.

In light of this change, Mattel announced that the current Barbie leadership team will continue the Barbie brand’s current momentum under the direction of Tim Kilpin, who has been named GM and senior vice-president of Mattel Brands. As part of his new responsibility, Kilpin will add the Barbie business to his current portfolio, which includes such brands as Hot Wheels, Matchbox, and Tyco R/C, as well as Mattel’s other girls, entertainment, and games businesses.

“Richard Dickson has made many important contributions to Mattel over the past 10 years most recently leading the team that revitalized the Barbie brand,” says Kilpin. “Richard leaves behind a strong brand vision, identity, and strategy, as well as a talented leadership team to carry on the Barbie momentum.”

Mattel Reports Fourth Quarter and Full-Year Results

Mattel announced last week its fourth quarter and full-year financial results. For the quarter, the company reported net income of $328.4 million or 89 cents per share, compared to last year’s fourth quarter net income of $176.4 million, or 49 cents per share. For the year, the company reported net income of $528.7 million of $1.45 per share, compared to last year’s net income of $379.6 million or $1.04 per share.

For the quarter, net sales were $1.96 billion, a one percent increase from last year, and included a favorable impact from changes in currency exchange rates of four percentage points. On a regional basis, fourth quarter gross sales were down two percent in the U.S. and were up three percent in international markets, which included a positive impact from changes in currency exchange rates of eight percentage points. Operating income for the quarter was up 80 percent to $417.4 million.

For the year, net sales were $5.43 billion, an 8 percent decline from $5.92 billion last year, and included an unfavorable impact from changes in currency exchange rates of two percentage points. On a regional basis, full-year gross sales were down four percent in the U.S. and were down 13 percent in international markets, which included an unfavorable impact from changes in currency exchange rates of four percentage points. Operating income for the year was $731.2 million, up 35 percent compared to the prior year.

Taking a look at some highlights, worldwide gross sales for Barbie were up 12 percent; Hot Wheels was up 16 percent; Core Fisher-Price was up one percent; and American Girl was flat.

This Holiday Season Wasn’t So Bad After All

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) for December 2009 rose 2.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year and fell 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted from November. As a result, preliminary 2009 holiday sales, which combine the full months of November and December, rose 1.1 percent to $446.8 billion, surpassing NRF’s projected decline of 1.0 percent.

“With an eye on managing inventory and maintaining lower price points, retailers did a tremendous job of planning for the holiday season,” said NRF chief economist Rosalind Wells. “While the consumer appears to be spending again, double digit unemployment numbers will remain an impediment to maintaining this momentum.”

Apparel was a big driver for retailers as clothing and clothing accessories stores for December increased 7 percent year-over-year and dipped 0.6 percent from November. Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores also performed well with December sales increasing 3.9 percent from last year and up 1.6 percent month to month. Health and personal care stores continue to be a bright spot in retail with year-over-year December sales increasing 4.8 percent and monthly gains of 0.8 percent.

The weak housing market continues to impact the sale of home furnishings with December sales of furniture and home furnishing stores decreasing 3.5 percent from December 2008 though increasing a slight 0.3 percent from the previous month.

Valentine’s Day Spending Expected to Reach $14 Billion

Couples plan to spend less on each other but more on their family, friends, and co-workers and even more on their pets. According to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) 2010 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, couples will spend an average of $63.34 on gifts for their significant other or spouse, compared to $67.22 last year. The average person will shell out $103 on traditional Valentine’s Day merchandise this year, similar to last year’s $102.50. Total holiday spending is expected to reach $14.1 billion.

With Americans cutting back on the amount they spend on their significant other, friends and co-workers can expect a little bit more this year. The average person will spend $5.37 on friends, up from $4.74 last year; $4.29 on classmates and teachers, compared to $3.59 last year; and $2.84 on co-workers, slightly up from the $1.94 they spent in 2009. Consumers will spend $3.27 on their furry friends, up from $2.17 last year. Spending on family members will remain the same ($20.94 vs. $20.95 last year).

As in previous years, men will spend nearly twice the amount women spend on the holiday. The average man plans to spend $135.35 while women only expect to spend $72.28. Personal and practical gifts will resonate with celebrants again this year as more people will look to sweaters, winter accessories, and other clothing options in place of jewelry or an evening out. Traditional gifts such as greeting cards, candy, and flowers remain popular choices.

Jeep Store Opens in South Africa

A Jeep lifestyle store recently opened in the Cape Town International Airport in South Africa, says The Joester Loria Group, which represents the Jeep brand. This is the first airport retail location in South Africa for Jeep. However it joins 36 freestanding Jeep stores throughout major cities in South Africa. In addition to freestanding stores there are more than 20 Jeep shop in shops in the leading department store chain Edgars. Musgrave Agencies, the local licensee was eager to open the store in time for this summer’s 2010 World Cup hosted by South Africa.