PARIS — Bouncing back from a loss at the start of the year, Zara owner Inditex reported 241 million euros in net profit over the second quarter, forging a path toward recovery amid ongoing disruption from the coronavirus crisis.
The Spanish fast-fashion retailer, which also owns labels Massimo Dutti, Bershka and Stradivarius, marked improvement in sales, which were down 31 percent in the second quarter versus 44 percent in the first quarter, amounting to 8 billion euros for the first half of the year. Between Aug. 1 and Sept. 6, they were down 11 percent in constant currencies. Online sales — a key focus for the company which has been rolling out e-commerce around the world and continues to invest in this area — continued to grow robustly, up 74 percent for the first half.
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“I am particularly pleased with our online sales growth, which demonstrates the critical importance of our integrated store and online platform strategy,” Inditex executive chairman Pablo Isla said in a statement.
“This is a cornerstone of our unique business model with three key pillars: flexibility, digital integration and sustainability. Day by day, this combination is proving its solidness,” he added.
Inditex has sprinted ahead of rivals on the digital front, outfitting stores with state-of-the-art tracking systems and offering fast delivery in urban areas. It plans to invest nearly 3 billion euros over the next two years in beefing up its digital platforms and integrating store and online stock, as it culls smaller stores and focuses on larger, spruced-up flagships.
The retailer said it recently hit the 1 million order mark in a single day for the first time and noted that since the beginning of the year, its brands reached nearly 3 billion online visits and now count 190 million followers on social networks.
Swedish rival Hennes & Mauritz AB reported improved business Tuesday, beating expectations with a forecast of returning to profitable territory in the coming months.
‘I just cannot see that it would warrant $70,000’
Donald Trump’s hair is back in the news amid the New York Times report that on his unearthed tax returns, he wrote off “more than $70,000 to style his hair during The Apprentice” — but his locks have long been a fascinating topic.
While the New York Times report is vague and there many unknowns — was it $70,000 a year or $70,000 over the 11 years he appeared on the reality show, it didn’t specify — we couldn’t resist picking hairstylist to the stars Ted Gibson’s brain about the pricey expenditure. After all, Trump’s locks are notorious, mostly because they’re puzzling, and Gibson is notorious himself, as the hairstylist with the most expensive haircut in the U.S. — at $2,400.
“I think that if it’s $70,000 in a year,” Gibson says to Yahoo Entertainment, “that’s a lot of money. It’s an exorbitant amount of money, of course,” of the figure, which is more than the median U.S. household income.
Especially for someone whose hair has looked “the same” for more than a decade.
“Sometimes the cut is a little different than other times, but generally it’s the same coif every single day,” the hair pro continues. “So I wonder if ‘beauty’ would be included,” in the $70,000. “Is it also spray tans? Obviously, his hands are a different color,” than his face, “which is usually a sure sign than some kind of tanning is involved.”
And if it’s $70,000 over the 11 years Trump was on The Apprentice, the Starring By Ted Gibson salon owner says, “it’s not a lot of money” for a celebrity — breaking down to approximately $6,363 a year. But either way, “I suspect that if he was getting his hair done for The Apprentice, production has a budget for that. That wouldn’t come out of his pocket.”
And it seems unlikely that Trump has a pricey hair coloring bill. After all, his former hairstylist on the early seasons of The Apprentice, Amy Lasch, has said that his hair coloring wasn’t a professional job, in her opinion, because it was different shades. Lasch speculated that “someone in his inner circle” was doing the color, suggesting “his wife or maybe his daughter,” referring to Melania Trump or Ivanka Trump.
Gibson can see Trump being a DIY color guy, explaining, “As a busy person myself, I color my own hair. I generally cut my own hair because I don’t have a lot of time to go to a barbershop — and I own a salon!” He explains that if he looks in the mirror on a given morning and thinks he needs a trim, he just does it himself and that goes for color too. (It helps that he’s married to a hair colorist, Jason Backe, who’s also his business partner.)
“I’m assuming that he colors his hair himself,” says Gibson, who doubts Melania helps. “No way. She doesn’t even want to hold his hand, so she’s probably not going to touch his hair.”
We mention how Trump’s barber of 30 years, Adrian Wood, from Paul Molé Barber Shop in Manhattan, said in an interview that he was never allowed to cut the top of the reality star’s hair when he was giving him his $30-something gentleman’s cut. Wood was only allowed to clean up the sides. The top was a no-touch zone.
“I believe that,” Gibson replies. “So more than likely, he would go to the barbershop every two weeks and they would just clean up around his ears … and everything else would stay the same. He wants that top to be longer to cover up a certain spot, I’m sure.”
As for the top, “We know that it’s a comb-over. We know that the piece on the top is a lot longer,” Gibson says.” And “it doesn’t move. If the wind blows, the whole thing blows. So it could be that he trims it himself around the ears and back. I just cannot see that it would warrant $70,000 on a tax return.”
One thing is for sure, Trump’s hair is a captivating thing.
“It always has been,” says Gibson, who’s not surprised that Trump has left it the same all these years despite the endless scrutiny. “I think it’s his signature. After getting so many comments on it, why would you change it? If he changed it, he would turn into someone else. And obviously, he likes himself.”
Gibson has worked with some of the most famous celebrities of all time and that continues as he and his husband Backe opened up a futuristic L.A. smart salon, Starring By Ted Gibson, which is home to his famous $2,400 cut.
“It is an experience,” he says when asked what a customer gets for the price tag. “The thing about what I deliver is you have six degrees of separation from celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Sandra Oh, Debra Messing, Lupita Nyong’o, Hailey Bieber, Ashley Green and Zoe Saldana — the list goes on and on,” he says of his famous clientele.
Celebrity connections aside, “it’s the first smart salon in the world, powered by Amazon and Alexa,” he explains. When they designed it, “We used the idea of: What would a salon of the future look like? Because going to a salon and the salon business hasn’t been updated in forever. We wanted semi-private areas where a woman could sit and get her hair done — like when you’re flying first-class and you have your own little area,” or pod, “where you have music, your food and beverage. So that’s what we came up with.”
Their clients have their own “clouds,” which are 13-feet high, by nine-feet long by eight-and-a-half feet wide. They are decorated beautifully, including 11 different light modes, all put on and off by Alexa, so customers can see how their hair color looks under different kinds of light, so there are no surprises when you later look at your hair color at home in the bathroom mirror. There are also mood-enhancing lights, so if a client is having a stressful day, they put on the “chill” mode and the “cloud turns to this really beautiful blueish color.”
The salon, which only opened 11 months before the pandemic, was also “COVID safe before there was a need to be COVID safe.” That’s because of the more than six feet between clouds, but also that clients book and pay for their appointments online. When they arrive, there’s a secure front and back entrance. And there are no touch points between stylist and client — no front desk attendant or assistants — they go right to their cloud and interact only with the stylist. If you like a product used by the stylist, you can order it on the app and get it sent to your home within days, as no retail products are sold in the store.
“And you get a great haircut!” on top of that, Gibson says. “We really thought about what the salon experience should be for women — before it was even a thought about how it feels going to a salon and being in an enclosed in space” amid the pandemic. “We’re really proud of it.” (While Gibson’s cuts are $2,400, haircuts and colors with lead stylists other than Gibson and Backe begin at $150 a cut.)
As we wrap up, we ask if there’s anything Gibson wants to add after our chat about Trump’s hair, “Um… vote!” he says. “That’s all I’ll add. Vote.”
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Walmart is updating its iconic Supercenter store for the digital age
Walmart (WMT) is unveiling a “completely new look and feel” for its iconic Supercenter stores for the digital age of shopping.
In an announcement on Walmart’s blog on Wednesday, chief customer officer Janey Whiteside shared details of an increasingly “customer-centric” layout more befitting of the shift toward online shopping, where sales for the world’s largest retailer have boomed.
“The design creates an elevated experience that appeals to shoppers through a sleek design aesthetic; a layout that spotlights products, and an end-to-end digital navigation that guides customers throughout their journeys,” Whiteside wrote.
Walmart has tested the digitally-enabled store concept, and they’re “excited by the initial feedback from customers and associates,” the executive said.
“By creating a system that acknowledges our app navigation from beginning to end, we create an optimized omni experience for both customers and associates,” she added.
The company will begin updating 200 Supercenters and some Health Centers and Neighborhood Markets in the fiscal year, while closing to 1,000 stores next fiscal year.
Additionally, the big-box retailer plans to revamp its interior and exterior signage to tout the Walmart mobile app’s icon.
“As customers enter the store, they are greeted with clean, colorful iconography and a store directory that encourages them to download and use the Walmart app while they shop,” Whiteside added.
Inside the store, shoppers will be able to identify sections spotlighted with bold typeface. The stores will also feature colorful signage promoting the mobile app. Whiteside added that the aisles will be “with letter and number combinations to guide customers from phone to product.”
Whiteside noted that Walmart was inspired by “airport wayfinding systems” that direct large crowds through the store faster.
“We developed simple yet thoughtful designs to replicate these navigation efficiencies, which will help us move customers through the store more quickly,” she added.
At the checkout, there will be self-serve kiosks and contactless payment options through Walmart Pay. Some of the sections in the store will offer the Scan & Go for on-the-spot checkout.
Walmart operates a fleet of more than 4,700 stores in the U.S. Approximately 90% of the U.S. population lives within ten miles of a Walmart.
Julia La Roche is a Correspondent for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.
Accenture: Tech companies’ disregard for inclusion drives women away
A joint report from Accenture and Girls Who Code found a massive perception gap between leaders in the tech industry — including C-suite executives and senior human resource officers — and its female-identifying employees. While 77% of leaders think their workplace empowers women, only 54% of these women agree. And while 45% of leaders claim it’s easy for women to thrive in tech-related jobs, only 21% of women overall (and 8% of women of color) feel the same way.
These findings from the report “Resetting Tech Culture” are based on online surveys completed by three distinct groups within the United States in 2019: 1,990 tech employees (1,502 of whom identify as women), 500 senior human resources leaders, and 2,700 college students. The researchers then analyzed workplace culture by applying a linear regression model to the survey results, which quantified the impact of different cultural factors on women’s advancement.
According to the report, the disparity is all about culture and opportunity: uncomfortable classroom settings in college, or even high school, combined with less-than-ideal company work environments, lead over 50% of young women in technology roles to drop out of the industry by the age of 35.
Senior human resources leaders are largely responsible for workplace culture. They’re changemakers who determine who is hired, how they work, and what they work on. But according to the survey results, they largely overestimate how safe and welcoming their workplaces are while underestimating how difficult it is for women to build their careers in technology.
This perception gap is key because leadership undervalues inclusion in the workplace and remains focused on hiring women when there’s an existing attrition problem. The report indicates that leaders tend to center their efforts on hiring rather than retaining women. An emphasis on hiring makes it less likely for women to advance in their career within a company; the company then misses out on reduced bias, a more equitable workplace, and an overall improved culture. The report asserts that the corporate world cannot improve at the rate it needs to without the contributions of women.
This report identifies five actionable cultural practices that can curb this trend: strengthening parental leave policies, selecting diverse leaders for senior teams, developing women-specific mentorship programs, rewarding employees for creativity, and scheduling networking events that are open to all team members. It expects that these changes could help ensure up to three million early-in-career women will work in technology roles by 2030. That’s almost twice as many as there are right now, according to the report.
Accenture and Girls Who Code say this reset would help to “drive much-needed change: [the] analysis suggests that if every company scored high on measures of an inclusive culture — specifically, if they were on par with those in the top 20% of [the] study — the annual attrition rate of women in tech could drop by up to 70%.”
Although the number of women working in technology as a whole has increased, the proportional gender imbalance in technology today is actually greater than it was 35 years ago. This disequilibrium hurts not only women’s earnings and advancement but also the goals of technology companies, because inclusivity and innovation are closely intertwined.
And if technology is the future, these next few years present a golden opportunity to make it work for everyone. Accenture and Girls Who Code believe that this begins with resolving the critical disconnect between tech leaders and their employees through empathy and women-focused policies.
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