Victoria’s story

When Victoria’s Secret Direct opened a new, state-of-the-art distribution center in August, the women’s apparel merchant no doubt figured it would have the kinks worked out by the time fall/holiday sales started rolling in.

It didn’t.

Victoria’s Secret’s struggles with the new DC have been well documented, from the shipping delays that caused its direct sales to fall 64% in August to its $25 discount apology offer extended in October to customers affected by the operational snafus. Not only has parent company Limited Brands said Victoria’s Secret Direct’s sales could fall by as much as $150 million in the fourth quarter, the company was trying to curb demand by reducing catalog circulation. That’s right — it was taking steps to discourage orders because its DC couldn’t handle them.

Getting a new distribution facility up and running is no easy task. Victoria’s Secret Direct says its particular problems stem from the combination and integration of its new technology and processes. (For more, see Jim Tierney’s article “Victoria’s Secret’s DC woes mount”.)

But this sad situation underscores the importance of the back end communicating with the front end. While nobody expected the operation’s difficulties to continue for months, the last thing Victoria’s Secret’s beleaguered DC needed was a massive discount offer — which the company said was redeemed at record-breaking levels — to spur fall sales.

Multichannel Merchant is one of the few industry publications that gives the operations and fulfillment side of the business the attention it deserves. In this issue alone we cover how to set up a packing station, negotiating parcel carrier contracts, and managing multichannel inventory.

That’s in addition to Web channel articles on e-mail marketing and Web 2.0, cross channel stories covering branding, merchandising, and list hygiene, plus a print catalog critique and a quarterly paper-price update. There’s also our news section — including our profile of Sharper Image president/CEO Steven Lightman. What an issue!

Here’s to a brand new year of our complete multichannel coverage and your continued multichannel success.

P.S. Speaking of the back end working with the front end, we are accepting entries for our annual Multichannel Merchant Awards competition. For more information, visit Multichannelmerchant.com/toolbox/awards, or contact our new special projects manager, Monica Kitchen (203-258-4233 or monica.kitchen@penton.com). Don’t delay — the deadline is Jan. 25. Isn’t it time your catalogs and Websites received the recognition they deserve?

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