Faces: Financo’s Big Bash

Some big names let it rip on Jan. 12 at what many deemed Financo’s liveliest CEO seminar and dinner in years. At the panel, Burt Tansky and Mickey Drexler duked it out over the future of retail, with the J.Crew chief declaring that “the days of $800 to $900 for a pair of shoes are gone.” But Tansky held his own. “We’ve been forced to compete on price and price alone — and we don’t like it,” said Neiman Marcus’ CEO. He added that the company’s strategy going forward would be based on non-price-driven promotions, such as small events and “new ideas.” There were plenty of footwear execs in the audience who, no doubt, had thoughts of their own. During the cocktail hour, Sonny Shar chatted up Bernie Leifer, and Blake Krueger talked with Ron Fromm. Matt Rubel mingled with panelist Mindy Grossman from HSN, and Matt Serra connected with Michael Gould of Bloomingdale’s. The conversation continued at dinner, where Financo chief Gilbert Harrison asked more execs to weigh in on the economic crisis and the promotional retail environment. Perhaps the most fitting quote of the night came from JC Penney’s Myron Ullman. “Our biggest price-point problem is that we have Neiman and Saks in our price points,” he quipped.

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