Jonathan Greller Finds New Opportunities For Hudson’s Bay Outlets

Jonathan Greller, Hudson’s Bay Co.’s president of outlets, was on hand for the opening of the retailer’s first Find @ Lord & Taylor outlet store in Paramus, NJ, which is featured in the December 14 edition of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS®. In addition to Find, Greller also has Saks Off 5th in his business portfolio and is expanding that concept into Canada.

At the store opening, Greller provided HomeWorld Business some insights into how Hudson’s Bay intends to operate Find, its relation to Saks Off 5th and Lord & Taylor department stores, and the method of positioning the new format for differentiation and growth.

HomeWorld Business: Hudson’s Bay operates two outlet concepts, Saks Off 5th and Find @ Lord & Taylor, so how do you position the two brands to maximize their potential and minimize any competition between them?

Jonathan Greller: Saks Off 5th is truly the luxury off-price retailer in North America, as we open up Canada. We have brands that are at a much higher pricepoint there. The average pricepoint at a Saks Off 5th will be close to 30% to 40% higher than at Find @ Lord & Taylor. So the brand matrix is very different. We have a different penetration of what we call more opening pricepoint brands. They are still from great designers, but very different than in luxury. There will be a lot of ways to buy great gifts here, but if they want to be aspirational, consumers will go to a Saks Off 5th, as well. So they can sit next to each other and be very successful.

HWB: What do you want people to notice when they enter a Find @ Lord & Taylor, both in contrast to Off 5th and in the new format’s own right?

Greller: What’s really different, we have a high penetration of home here that we don’t have in our Off 5th. Off 5th does carry home in a few stores. But this has a big percentage of home. We have an outsized kids business here, where at Off 5th just here in Bergen down the road, we don’t carry kids. This is a different feeling. The first thing you see when you come into the store is the name: Find. It’s a verb. Not everyone is using a verb. Then you have the @ symbol, it brings in a little more of a Millennial feeling. You get into the store, we have all these great t-shirts in purple with sayings. We want people to feel like this is a clean, neat, organized store. It has a lot of energy. We’re in the event business today. We want to create this experience. We think we can cater to this customer. We keep saying, “style your life for less” and “great brands at great prices.”

HWB: With the white and purple decor and open layout, do you want to attract a shopper, maybe a little younger, who wants a more dynamic shopping experience?

Greller: Shopping has to be absolutely exciting. We want to create the treasure hunt experience. We want you to come into the store. We have curated assortments that we put together. We’re leveraging the team from Off 5th. We have the greatest merchants, many buyers working through over 400 designers, sourcing this product, which makes it fun. You have to make shopping exciting. When we look at what’s happening at retail today, there are retailers who are winning. We are winning because it’s exciting. It’s exciting to come into any of the Hudson’s Bay platforms. We are doing a lot of exciting things.

HWB: As you noted, Lord & Taylor is a Northeastern department store brand, but can Find @ Lord & Taylor become a vehicle that can work beyond the current market area to familiarize consumers with the Lord & Taylor brand?

Greller: Absolutely. Lord & Taylor is the oldest department store in the United States. It was founded in 1826. It absolutely has the ability to expand. We believe we can be synergistic. They can coincide, be near each other, and then we’ll expand the off-price footprint, and it could open up possibilities for Lord & Taylor department stores.

HWB: What is the immediate plan for Find @ Lord & Taylor expansion?

Greller: We have plans to open up five stores. Then we will absolutely be expanding, first in the geographical footprint where the Lord & Taylor department stores are, then we believe we will have many stores beyond. We look at every single store and always know we can continue to add some new ideas and new experiences. It’s what we do, and we get better every day. Then it fits with the concept of we have to change what we’re doing every day. We have new product flowing in here every day. We’re going to be expanding this. This is going to be a very exciting company.