Saks Yonge Street?

Richard Baker just made many a Canadian luxury shopper happy this morning when it was announced that HBC was going to acquire Saks Inc. Saks is of course is best known for it’s Fifth Avenue store in New York and the high end items that it sells.

This is no small deal, in numbers or in significance. HBC is paying $2.4 billion (US) cash for Saks Inc. and there is significance that a Canadian company is buying the iconic US company. Finally, us Canadians have an acquisition go the other way. Usually it is a larger foreign company that ends up buying our iconic Canadian companies. Baker just won one for the Canucks.

What is also interesting about this acquisition is that it continues HBC’s turnaround since Baker took over the failing company. He has taken prudent risks and been patient to find the right opportunities for growth. Steady responsible growth. Baker has shown that it takes time to turn things around, but it can be done successfully when done effectively.

Baker had a vision of what he wanted the company to be when he first took over; to restore HBC to it’s iconic status through reputation, product selection and service.

Then he hired the right people. As an example, Bonnie Brooks has been instrumental in changing the perception of the Bay by bringing in well-known designers and labels.

Then, he executed on the strategy effectively. He didn’t rush to try and change everything overnight or grow the organization too fast. He has made strategic decisions that align with the ultimate strategy.

High-end consumers all across Canada are toasting champagne to Baker today, anticipating the announcement of when they can get their hands on the merchandise from Saks in their own backyard.


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