Macy’s on Thursday announced the appointment of Yasir Anwar as EVP and CTO, effective immediately. In this new role, he will oversee all technology functions and drive the alignment of Macy’s technology efforts, responsible for the teams that build the end-to-end ecommerce experience, enterprise-shared services, infrastructure, field services and functional IT support, according to a company press release.
Anwar joined Macy’s e-commerce unit as VP, engineering in May 2012, was promoted to group VP of engineering in April 2014, then SVP, digital technology in April 2016 and finally CTO in February 2017. He was a founder of Macys Labs, where he introduced “lean development” practices and established “lean delivery teams” to transform the delivery model, with a focus on experimentation and customer testing. Prior to joining Macy’s, Anwar was the head of engineering at Walmartlabs, where he built next-generation platforms for Walmart Global E-commerce.
The department store also said that Mike Robinson has been named EVP, product management and customer experience, managing all aspects of product management, portfolio and user experiences for digital, store and omnichannel systems. He will oversee a unified product and portfolio vision, allowing customers to shop seamlessly and easily across all Macy’s channels. Anwar and Robinson will report to R.B. Harrison, chief omnichannel and operations officer, the company said.
Macy’s has struggled in recent quarters and is the midst of a massive brick-and-mortar restructuring that involves shuttering at least 100 stores by the end of this year. But it has been on the forefront of e-commerce, experimenting with supply chain and last-mile delivery. The company clearly sees digital sales as important to its growth strategy to offset the loss of stores.
Its bid to employ RFID technology to all stock by year's end is already making a positive difference, according to data from Macy's analyzed by the Platt Retail Institute emailed to Retail Dive in April. RFID tagging has so far helped Macy's lower inventory variance by to 2-4.5%, decrease display shortages from 30-4-6% and reduce markdowns enabling a 2.6% full-price sale increase in women’s shoes, according to the report. The impact of RFID-tagging was also visible in fulfillment. Orders for tagged merchandise were fulfilled 6.1% more than non-tagged merchandise.
“Maximizing our technology capabilities and continuing the strong growth of our digital and mobile platforms is a high priority for Macy’s and we are restructuring our technology teams to support these efforts,” CEO Jeff Gennette said in a statement. “Bringing the Macy’s technology teams together under Yasir’s leadership will result in faster time to market and decision making through a streamlined IT organization that will create nimble platforms for continuous business transformation. Mike’s focus on product and customer experience will ensure that our best customer continues to be able to shop the way she lives both on-line and in-store.”
Macy’s last month reported first quarter total sales fell 7.4% to $5.3 billion, compared to year-ago Q1 sales of $5.8 billion, mostly due to the company’s many store closures — missing the FactSet analyst expectation for $5.5 billion, cited by Marketwatch. Same-store sales on an owned basis in the quarter fell 5.2% and fell 4.6% on an owned plus licensed basis.
While focusing on e-commerce is rational in light of its store closures, those closures present a conundrum: Research from Moody’s last year revealed that e-commerce sales are challenged in areas where a physical location is shuttered.