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Articles by Alixe McRae
Alixe MacRaeA regular contributor to Home Goods Online, Alixe MacRae is one of this country's best known merchandisers. She most recently served as assistant general manager for Stoney Creek Furniture. Based in Stoney Creek, Ontario, SCF is recognized as one of Canada's best recognized destination furniture stores. Prior to joining SCF, MacRae held senior merchandising posts at both The Bay and Sears Canada and was a long-time member of the Canadian Home Furnishings Awards jury.

Why so many suits and so few skirts?

ImageI read all of the appointment notices published by Home Goods Online and, in recent months, they have all reminded me of when I graduated from university with a degree in business.  I applied to one of Canada's largest carpet companies and at the end of the interview, the head of personnel (as it was then called) told me that while my interview was the best he had heard and that my experience and education was excellent they didn't hire women other than secretaries.

How to boost your brand

ImageA brand has a minimum of three lives. Each is important to the retailer who wants to build the all-mighty differentiation - which remains the key to success, even when this ongoing period of uncertainty in the marketplace is over. Consumers, it must be remembered, want to do business with those they trust; with those who build on their personal prestige; who offer good value and who enhance their comfort.

Harassment: how to ensure your company is clean

ImageHarassment has been in the news a lot lately. A venerable university, Pennsylvania State University (commonly called Penn State), our own Royal Canadian Mounted Police, U.S. presidential candidate Herman Cain and the Roman Catholic Church are among what seems to be an endless list of individuals, companies and institutions that have been accused of either conducting or condoning such boorish, disgusting behaviour in recent years.

The most popular four letter word

ImageIt's not often our industry makes the news. Recently, it did. But not for the reasons most of those of us working in the industry would like to see. A Montreal-based consumer rights group, Option consommateurs, filed a complaint with the Competition Bureau severely criticizing eight national and regional retailers and accused them of misleading advertising. The findings are generally fair and reasonable - at first glance.

Screw the castle, provide the service

ImageI visited the Sears store in Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping Centre the other day. It was a complete mess; the escalators were not working, there were racks in the aisles and there were curtains strung about hiding the activity. I asked an associate what was going on. He replied "a major renovation."

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