Express experienced an eye-opening fiscal performance during its second quarter last year, punctuated by a strategic oversight that led to results far short of expectations along with a decline in store traffic.

At the time, Express CEO David Kornberg attributed the poor performance to a “lack of clarity in our assortment caused by too many choices and this was compounded by skewing too young in our projection. In an effort to acquire younger customers to our brand, we expanded our merchandising reach and shifted our marketing projection. While our fashion attracted more customers at the lower end of our target demographic age group, this was more than offset by a decline at the upper end.”

It seems that Express officials are focusing on how to move in the right direction with customer engagement, along with an increased emphasis on its Express Next loyalty program.

“As you may recall, in addition to more traffic headwinds, we mentioned there were three key issues that negatively impacted our performance this past spring,” Kornberg said last month during the company’s third-quarter earnings call. “Namely, we skewed too young in our projection, both in our marketing and merchandising. We had a lack of clarity in our assortment caused by too many choices and we reduced customer touch points compared to last year. I'm pleased to say we are making progress on all fronts. We have taken steps to address the issues we identified in our merchandising and marketing projection. Going forward, we will continue to deliver frequent units, but we will tell fewer fashion stories in store to ensure our offerings are clear and cohesive across lifestyles.”

What’s more, Kornberg said the company has relaunched its Express Next loyalty program.

“The goal of the initial phase of the relaunch was to make it easier for Next customers to become fully engaged with the program and utilize their rewards,” he explained. “During October, we fully activated a portion of our loyalty member base that had not yet completed the registration process. During the first month of the relaunch, we drove a significant year-over-year increase in completed enrollments. We will continue to prioritize Next sign-up as a productive way to build brand loyalty and drive frequency of visits and highest spend over the long term.”

Kornberg noted that fully enrolled Next customers spend approximately two and a half times more than a non-fully enrolled member, and four times more than non-loyalty customers.

“We remain on-track for full program refresh set to begin in February and continue through the second quarter of 2017,” he added. 

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