Cyber Monday: A View From the Top

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Dec. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Gilt Groupe CEO Michelle Peluso, BJ's Wholesale Club CEO Laura Sen and HSNI CEO Mindy Grossman discuss Cyber Monday sales on Bloomberg Television's "Street Smart." (Source: Bloomberg)

Monday means to each one of your businesses.

What was the difference this year versus last year?

Up 60%, how did you do it?

We had a tremendous weekend and were up 45%, year-over-year.

A great value, we could make -- remake our store several times per day.

We made sure that we had gifts for everyone at all price points , selling a $15,000 watch and a $20,000 toy, taking tremendous advantage of mobile.

Was there one product above the others that helped to make the numbers?

It really was across the board, but the unbreakable remote helicopters were great this year.

This is the same week that amazon says they will be delivering drones.

There is a theme going on.

[laughter] you always said great product, great story, great storyteller.

Good, you got it.

What was your result for the weekend?

We saw a lot of different engagements, so certainly everything in the technology space, like tablets, smartphones, etc., but we also sought great gift support that was more for her.

Beauty gifts, other gadgets.

On sunday we sold 100,000 pairs of stretch jeans from one of our proprietary brands.

Not the transparent ones?

[laughter] no.

The other thing that was important, we saw self purchases.

People are still buying for themselves if it is a great value.

I would say one for them, one for me.

Bj wholesale, you wanted people to honor the holiday, but how did the rest of it go?

It went well, i would echo the sentiment around value, it was the king and that is what sold.

What we did that was successful last year and even more successful this year was to go beyond the typical realm of televisions, computers, cameras, video games, going into some other big-ticket toys.

You know, pressure washers, generators, things that people really want to see great value on, not just electronics.

As we read the cyber monday results, very strong.

E-commerce has been stronger will -- stronger than the general brick and mortar merchandise all year.

That is what we expected to see.

The dow jones is closed amid concerns that the retail environment is not healthy.

Does wall street have it wrong right now?

Or is it very much specific and dependent on companies themselves?

I do not think they have it wrong, i think that people are driving to value and being very specific about what they want.

For any retailer right now, we have got to focus on shares and experience.

It is not easy.

I agree with mindy.

I think that there has been a lot in the news to cause consumer uncertainty.

You know, everything that has gone on with health care, the government shutdown, people are just worried.

It is going to have an effect.

Do not go anywhere, keep it right here, we will have more with our queens of retail, next.

? all right, we are back with our retail royalty.

The chief executive at the online retailer group, the ceo of bj's wholesale, and our closer, mindy grossman, ceo of hs and i h i and that's -- hs nsi.

Mindy, i want to start with you.

Competition, how do you bring people to the site, hold them, compete against the competition and any other outlet out there?

We look at competition very broadly.

Direct competitors, digital competitors, brick and mortar, and media entertainment.

We are looking at what is creating engagement and where the customer is going to go and we want the customer to come to us.

We do that through experiences and providing great value.

70% of what we sell is proprietary.

You cannot get them anywhere else.

It was very important to us to create the loyalty and trust factor and it is a combination of all those things that we feel are important.

You mentioned value as something important to consumers right now, michelle, guild was launched at a time that the country was going through a recession.

You got inventory cheaply back then.

What do you do now when a lot of the people that you were maybe going to in 2008 because they got a cheaper deal and the inventory that you were collecting came more cheaply, what do you do when those consumers are out shopping at those primary retailers themselves?

We are having record days, it is tremendous growth right now, we are not supply constrained.

If you want to avoid long lines and shop with your friends and family from your mobile device, you can return the online extended returns and make it relevant.


We could not be growing at the rate we are growing if that were not the case.

Getting rid of inventory, making it exciting and 11, that is the mission.

Speaking of growth you have seen, there has been management shakeup, changes, several different ceos, do you feel that that is behind the company moving forward?

The senior team is the senior team that has been there for a long time.

The founder and ceo, chairman, there has been a lot of consistency at the top.

There has been a lot of shifting within the group, and it has been a remarkably consistent team around the company over the years.

So much of the conversation we are having here, i wish you were here with us, laura, but so much of it is the online business.

How do you actually deal with online when so much of the growth for retailers is online?

We have an e-commerce site and what we find is a couple of things.

First, having the ability to sell online allows us to expand beyond a very narrow assortment.

We also find that our members enjoy being able to get items delivered to their house that are very large, swing sets, patio sets, or big-screen televisions tom other is a lot of convenience that goes along with it.

Having a membership base, you can only shop online with us if you are a member, which allows us to keep our prices the lowest in the industry.

How critical has membership been to the success of bj's wholesalers?

It is fundamental.

Having a lot of data is clearly one of our advantages.

We know where our members are, what they like, and how to reach them.

Any chance that you will go public soon?

The hilton ipo today, a lot of the people coming to the markets these days, might bj's be looking to do so in the future?

We have only been private for couple of years, but i am sure that will be in our future someday.

Michelle, how about you?

We are profitable and not in a rush, but at some point, probably.

Mindy, you actually took hsn public.

When was that?

Five years ago.

Anymore plans?


I am absolutely glad that we did it.

To be able to grow the business, to be able to chart our course and build a great group of long-

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