Behind HBC’s turnaround

TORONTO — The Financial Post reports on Richard Baker’s role in turning around the fortunes of Hudson’s Bay Company, with a focus on his “strong stomach for risk.” Baker, according to the Post, operates more like a landlord than a retail merchant, more concerned with efficient use of real estate than with “ego” about strengthening sales. The latest development is the plan for a Saks Fifth Avenue at the Bay’s downtown Toronto flagship opening next year. When Baker bought HBC, analysts had more or less given up on it, along with Sears. The two companies have followed completely different trajectories since then, however, with HBC posting same-store sale increases every year since 2010 as Sears continues to flounder. HBC’s venture into the notoriously tricky German market with the pending acquisition of department store Kaufhof is just the latest gamble in Baker’s history of high-yielding risks.