Baccarat, Inc., the North American subsidiary of Baccarat SA, had experienced a significant decrease in wholesale and retail revenues and profitability during the luxury recession of 2008-2010. The parent company had engaged a global consulting firm to analyze corporate operations worldwide. Subsequent to the firm’s report and recommendations to the Board, Michael Appel was tasked with working with management to construct a strategic business plan for North America in fall 2010. The plan developed was aggressive, and Mr Appel assisted the CEO in the initial implementation of the plan, an assignment that ended in Spring 2011.
In August, the North American CEO resigned and Mr. Appel was engaged as Interim CEO. Although the retail division was achieving its projections, the wholesale and corporate divisions were significantly underperforming the plan and Mr. Appel was tasked with immediately turning around company performance for the critical fall selling season.
A plan was put in place by September 1 that focused on the following actions:
• An integrated marketing plan to drive sales was rolled out to all divisions
• A company wide sales meeting was held to focus the organization on the key fall goals and how to achieve them
• Management identified the key volume items by division that would drive revenues and merchandise was delivered from France well in advance of the Christmas season to ensure sufficient inventory was on hand to maximize sales
• Additional direct response catalogs were created to drive retail and corporate sales
• The corporate and wholesale salesforce was restructured and empowered to drive profitable sales – Mr. Appel was personally involved in meetings with all major customers to support this initiative.
• The Retail Stores focused on the Christmas selling season with new visuals, expanded marketing and new sales incentives programs for the selling staff and executives
As a result of these actions, revenues increased dramatically for the fall season, with total December sales increasing 50%, and Mr. Appel earned a substantial success fee for the firm.