In a market striving to recover from the Global Financial Crisis, and a retail sector that for the most part is seeing contraction rather than expansion, the Cotton On Group has good reason to celebrate its growing success in the United States.
Last month saw the retailer stage its first regional conference in the US, bringing together over 100 team members to officially mark five years in the country and celebrate the hard work and dedication of the US team.
With the Group committed to further solidifying its position in the market, the conference was a chance to not only reflect on the milestones achieved – including record Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales in 2014 – but also focus on the new opportunities that exist in the country for the global retailer.
Representatives from the Group’s headquarters in Geelong, including Chief Executive Officer Peter Johnson, Group Executive Innovation Julie Christy and General Manager People and Culture Pippa Grange, travelled to the country to participate in the event. They shared insights into the business including visibility of the Group’s strategic plans for the future and, most importantly, the role the US will play in the business achieving its vision for continued global growth
US Country Manager Mark Pan said providing team members a more in-depth understanding of the Group’s values, culture and innovative approach – and how this translates on a local level – was a key objective for the activity.
“The event was about celebrating and recognising that we are team USA with our own identity, vision and purpose; but that we are also proud to be part of a global family with a rich and inspiring heritage,” he said.
“There is a mutual respect for both the USA market and the global business and it’s this unity which gives us our competitive edge.”
The Group made its entrance into the country in 2009, opening its first Cotton On store in California – a city that the retailer felt would embrace the brand’s quintessentially casual and relaxed aesthetic. The store count has since grown to 118, stretching across 12 states and a regional headquarters has been established in Los Angeles. Cotton On, Typo, Cotton On Kids and the Group’s popular multi-brand megastores format are all represented in the region.
Pippa Grange, who led a series of culture and leadership workshops over the two day event, said the activity was a great way to encourage team members from across the country to connect, build relationships and foster their unique culture.
“It was fantastic to witness firsthand the passion of our US team members. They embody so much of what our business is about – energy, fun, and a genuine belief in what they can achieve together,” she said.
“The success of our business globally relies on our people being happy and engaged, no matter where in the world they are. With such an amazing team in the US who proudly represent our brands and our values, it’s easy to understand why we are continuing to perform so well there.”
Events such as the conference are an important part of the Group’s continued focus on investing in its 1500 strong US team. It followed the roll out of the business’ $30M educational platform, COG Uni, into the country in 2014 and the establishment of a regional headquarters in the same year.