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Michael Kors turns to personalized style tips and store revamps to win back customers



NEW YORK—Michael Kors Holdings Ltd.’s turnaround plan hinges on making its customers feel like they’re being personally dressed by its namesake designer — even if they aren’t.

The company is revamping stores and training sales associates to deliver personalized style ideas that are handed down from Kors. Example: how to match a black-sequined-and-cheetah-print dress to a pair of calf leather sandals and a pouch for a cocktail party.

The goal is to win back customers with experiences — the current Holy Grail of brick-and-mortar chains. With Inc. and other e-commerce players encroaching on apparel, retail brands are scrambling to offer something that you can’t get with a mouse click.

“When each customer leaves, we want them to feel like they were styled by Michael himself,” chief executive officer John Idol said over email.

The Michael Kors brand needs a boost after an overly aggressive expansion led to years of flagging sales, heavy markdowns and slowing customer traffic. The company has shuttered stores to help give the business a more exclusive feel, but now it needs to show it can grow again.

In addition to redesigning its shops and increasing its product catalogue, it’s relying less on department stores — a channel that’s marred the brand by associating it with deep discounts. And Michael Kors plans to add the personalized recommendations to a new mobile app, which will be offered next year.

“Personal service is an absolute need right now,” said Pamela Danziger, founder of luxury researcher Unity Marketing Inc. Style advice and makeover tips in stores “could be a real powerful strategy and make the Michael Kors store a destination,” she said, noting cosmetics retailer Sephora has used a similar recipe for success.

Investor interest seems to be rising: The value of Michael Kors shares has increased by about a third since the beginning of August. They surged 22 per cent to $45.25 (U.S.) on Aug. 8 after the company reported profit and sales that exceeded estimates — largely by introducing new products and curtailing discounts.

The company wants to cut revenue generated from retail partners to 30 per cent from about 40 per cent in the last fiscal year. To achieve this goal, Michael Kors is selling less to department stores that have been battered by falling foot traffic and working to draw shoppers into its own stores. To entice them to pay full price, it has started offering a wider range of products and has stepped up advertising for new products such as Mercer and Italian-made Bancroft handbags.

Glitzier stores

Michael Kors also hopes glitzier stores will attract customers, and is using one located in an upscale mall in Short Hills, N.J., as the template to follow. The 3,000-square-foot store recorded “strong” double-digit growth within three months of reopening, Idol said.

This bright spot amid a wider panorama of declining same-store sales has given the company confidence the format can be replicated as it revamps more than 100 stores over the next two years. Idol said the layout allows for quick reconfiguration so the stores can adapt to customers’ preferences. Additionally, as many as 125 underperforming stores will be closed.

The company also wants to diversify its revenue stream by selling fewer handbags — instead, it will offer more clothing for both women and men, and smartwatches and shoes. The latter will be boosted by the company’s recent purchase of shoemaker Jimmy Choo for about $1.35 billion, including refinanced debt. Demand for handbags, which make up about 70 per cent of Michael Kors’s revenue, has waned in recent years.

Competitor Coach Inc. has taken a similar track as it attempts to provide a wider range of goods, even changing its name to Tapestry Inc. to reflect its move to build a multibrand conglomerate.

Fashion makeover

But Michael Kors has to prove it can continue to cut down on bargain sales and navigate a rise in competition that has eaten into margins, said Arun Daniel, a senior portfolio manager at investment boutique J O Hambro Capital Management. More clarity is needed on its progress when it announces its second-quarter results on Nov. 6 as well as its performance in the holiday season, he said.

“That will be the true test for them. The Street has given them the benefit of the doubt,” he said. “For the stock to move to the next level, they are going to have to beat all the metrics.”

Danziger agreed that Michael Kors needs to show that the measures it’s touting are connecting with consumers if it wants to return to growth.

“The jury is out whether it’s enough to save Michael Kors,” Danziger said. “It has a following. It’s not dead, but it’s not growing.”

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Beauty Week is back at Hudson’s Bay in Toronto and it’s time to get glam



Beauty enthusiasts rejoice! Beauty Week at Hudson’s Bay is back in Toronto for another year. It’s time to stock up on all of your fall essentials and, maybe discover some new ones. 

From Friday, August 18 to Sunday, August 27, you can expect a truly elevated beauty experience in-store with incredible special offers, limited-time gifts, and exciting activations. 

If you’re a diehard beauty lover, you’ll already know that Hudson’s Bay is the place to shop thanks to its extensive range of over 195 skin and makeup brands from both luxury labels and masstige brands — including Tata Harper, Estée Lauder, YSL, Nars Cosmetics, Bobbi Brown, and so much more.

Throughout The Bay’s Beauty Week, visitors can take in some at-counter activations and interactive expert-led tutorials, where there will be chances to get makeup touch-ups from top-tier brands, try a spritz of the most alluring fragrances, and sample tons of new products.

This year’s Beauty Week highlight is the ‘Best in Beauty’ tote, a meticulously-curated selection of 30 deluxe samples from an array of top-tier brands like Dr. Barbara Sturm and Shiseido spanning skincare, fragrance, and makeup — all in a super sleek bag.

The tote, which is valued at over $300, is retailing for just $39 and is a fantastic way to explore new products (without breaking the bank). However, there is a limited quantity, so if you want to get your hands on one, you’ll need to be fast.

Wondering exactly what Beauty Week’s free gifts with purchases entail? If you spend over $95 at Lancôme, you will receive a six-piece set valued at $130. Or, you can get an Estée Lauder gift valued at $170 with purchases over $80. (And that’s just to name a few.)

If you’re a Hudson’s Bay Rewards member, you’ll also get $20 in Hudson’s Bay rewards when you spend over $100 on beauty.

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The Canadian Armed Forces are hiring for several non-combat military jobs



The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have several non-combat jobs, some of which do not require a college degree or past work experience.

Life in the forces has several benefits, such as paid education plans (college, university and graduate-level programs), 20 paid vacation days, health and dental coverage for you and your family, maternity and paternal leave, and pension plans. You can learn more about the benefits in detail here.

And to make it easier to gauge if you qualify, the listings also include related civilian jobs to see if it’s your ideal role.

Financial services administrator

Related civilian jobs: Financial records entry clerk, financial manager, accounting technician, bookkeeper, budget officer, cashier clerk, business planner technician, and verification manager.

Description: You’ll help budget resources for all military activities besides providing financial assistance.

Education: You need to have completed Grade 10.

Duties: As a financial services administrator, you’ll be responsible for bookkeeping and managing budgets. You’ll also provide support in accounts payable and accounts receivable.

Work environment: Those in this role work at CAF bases, on ships or overseas. You might also be expected to help special operation units, recruiting offices, schools, and medical organizations.

Postal clerk

Related civilian jobs: Mail clerk, mail sorter.

Description: You’ll provide postal services to members and their families at bases and establishments.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: As the postal clerk, you’ll handle mail duties.

Work environment: Besides a postal office, you may work on a ship or a mobile postal van. You might be expected to serve with Royal Canadian Navy, the Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force in Canada and abroad.

Dental technician

Related civilian jobs: Dental assistant, dental hygienist.

Description: You’ll be helping dental officers provide dental services to CAF members, their families, and dependents.

Education: Level II dental assisting diploma from an accredited college or a National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB) certificate.

Duties: Those in this role will be responsible for various responsibilities, including disinfection and sterilization of dental equipment, applying rubber dams, placing cavity liners, and controlling bleeding. In addition, you’ll assist in laboratory procedures like creating casts, custom trays, and mouthguards.

Work environment: This role will require you to work in a military dental clinic, a Mobile Dental Clinic, an Air Transportable Dental System, or onboard a ship. You might be expected to work on a base in Canada or other operations in other parts of the world.

Human resources administrator

Related civilian jobs: Records administrator, data entry supervisor, receptionist, office manager, executive assistant, payroll clerk, and information management technician.

Description: Provide administrative and general human resources support.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: In addition to human resources administration and services, you’ll be handling pay and allowances, managing automated pay systems, and maintaining personnel records.

Work environment: HR administrators work at all CAF bases in Canada. They also work on ships and overseas to support the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, or Royal Canadian Air Force operations.

Medical assistant

Related civilian jobs: Emergency medical responder, ambulance and first aid attendant, registered nursing assistant, licensed practical nurse, and hospital orderly.

Description: Successful candidates will help treat the sick and injured in CAF units. You’ll be assisting and supporting nursing and medical officers.

Education: Minimum of Grade 11 biology, Grade 10 physics or chemistry, and Grade 10 math.

Duties: You’ll provide initial care and essential life support treatments in trauma cases. You’ll help with health assessments (hearing and vision tests, perform basic lab procedures, etc.) and initiate and manage medical records and reports. You’ll also be expected to provide support and first aid during training exercises.

Work environment: Medical assistants may serve with the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force or the Canadian Army as part of the Canadian Forces Health Services Group. Those in this role are exposed to the same risks as the forces they support.

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Porter’s new loyalty program promises to match Air Canada’s Aeroplan status



Porter Airlines is once again stirring the pot among Canadian airline rivals, now going after Air Canada’s Aeroplan members by offering to match their loyalty status to an equivalent of their own.

The beloved airline, which recently ranked as having the best cabin service in North America, challenged the competition for the second time this year, after previously deploying a similar tactic against WestJet in the spring. 

Earlier in April, Porter presented customers with a limited-time offer to match the loyalty status of WestJet’s patrons with VIPorter levels.

Now, they’re offering Aeroplan members to seamlessly transition to an equivalent VIPorter Avid Traveller status based on their existing membership tier.

Members can then take advantage of an array of travel perks that come with flying Porter, including seat selection, baggage, and flight changes.

For those currently holding an Aeroplan membership, there are two ways to acquire the Avid Traveller status for the rest of 2023:

Status-Based Match:
  • Aeroplan 25K members = VIPorter Venture
  • Aeroplan 35K members = VIPorter Ascent
  • Aeroplan 50K, 75K, and Super Elite = VIPorter First
Flight Segments-Based Match:
  • 5 flight segments = VIPorter Passport
  • 8 segments = VIPorter Venture
  • 17 segments = VIPorter Ascent
  • 28 or more segments = VIPorter First

Members will have to first submit their applications on Porter’s website. Registration will remain open until September 6, 2023.

In order to maintain their membership level through 2024, customers will have until the end of 2023 to reach the following reduced qualifying spend (QS) targets:

  • Passport = $500 in QS
  • Venture = $750 in QS
  • Ascent = $1500 in QS
  • First = $2500 in QS

Over the past year, Porter has launched an aggressive expansion strategy, including everything from introducing longer flights on newly-purchased jet planes flying out of Toronto Pearson, free WiFi, and a new all-inclusive economy experience.

With Canadians losing both Swoop and Sunwing as WestJet incorporates both into their mainline business, Porter’s direct competition is welcome to keep prices competitive.

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