Macy’s last week named Casper CEO Emilie Arel to its board of directors, effective Aug. 15. The department store praised Arel’s two decades worth of experience in retail, including at companies like Target, Gap, Quidsi and Fullbeauty Brands.
Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette highlighted Arel’s digital chops, including leading the “digital transformation” of Fullbeauty and her pursuit of an omnichannel strategy at Casper. “Emilie’s experience putting customers at the center of the shopping experience will benefit our board and the broader organization as we continue to provide Macy’s, Inc. shoppers with a more personalized and immersive brand experience,” Gennette said in a statement.
Arel marks the 14th member of Macy’s board and will also serve on its nominating and corporate governance committee. For her part, Arel said she would use her omnichannel experience to “build on the momentum the company has achieved in recent years.”
Macy’s, like Casper, is looking to redefine itself. The department store’s Polaris turnaround strategy emphasizes e-commerce upgrades, merchandise changes and a return to profitable growth, among a slew of other things. The company is also planning a third-party marketplace, deepening its ties to digital.
Arel may be able to help with some of that. Casper was born online and has deep expertise in digital, but Arel is also pursuing her own profitability-driven strategy at the DTC brand that emphasizes controlling costs and refocusing product assortment. Arel recently explained the strategy at a retail conference, saying that the company is moving away from its lifestyle positioning and recentering on mattresses.
”The strategy was to be the Nike of sleep,” Arel said. “Nobody knows what that means. That sounds very exciting, but hard to execute on. We weren’t making any money. We’re not nonprofit … VC money is not falling from the ceiling anymore, we need to be very specific on what we’re working on. And so moving from being a lifestyle brand — being sort of the Nike of sleep, selling to everybody — to: ‘We are a mattress retailer.’”