Personnel Updates:

99 Cents Only Stores has hired Stephane Gonthier, COO of Canadian dollar store chain Dollarama Inc., to become President and CEO.  Gonthier will remain with Dollarama during a transitionary period and Richard Anicetti, interim CEO of 99 Cents Only, will return to his position as board member once Gonthier arrives.

Advance Auto Parts, Inc. announced the appointment of Jason Howes to the position of VP Distribution Operations.

Big Lots, Inc. announced John C. Martin has informed the Company of his intention to retire from his role as Executive Vice President, Chief Merchandising Officer.  Mr. Martin will continue in his current capacity until his successor is appointed, and he has committed to provide guidance to his successor and the Company through May 2014.  The Company has retained SpencerStuart to conduct a search of external candidates to succeed Mr. Martin.

Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations said that Stuart Crum has been named president, Bridgestone Retail Operations.

Five Below is searching for a seasoned retail executive to fill the role of president following the departure of COO David Johnston.  Johnston was with the company, for roughly a year, joining the retailer last June just as Five Below was about to go public. Five Below co-founder and CEO Thomas Vellios said the company appreciated Johnston’s contributions and wish him well in future endeavors, but noted it was time for the company to create a dedicated president role.

Guitar Center has appointed Christopher Ian Bennett as the company’s first-ever VP of Communications.

Microsoft Corp. announced that Amy Hood was named Microsoft CFO, succeeding outgoing CFO Peter Klein who remained with the company for one month to ensure a smooth transition.

OfficeMax announced that Exec VP of Finance, CFO and Chief Administrative Officer Bruce Besanko, has left the company to accept the position of Exec VP, CFO with Supervalu.

OfficeMax Inc. is promoting Deb O’Connor, Senior VP of Finance and Chief Administrative Officer, to interim CFO. She will replace Bruce Besanko, Executive VP and CFO, who has left the company to become the Executive VP and CFO of Supervalu Inc.

RadioShack announced that CFO Dorvin Lively left to pursue another opportunity after roughly two years with the company.  Filling Lively’s shoes on an interim basis is Holly Etlin, a managing partner at AlixPartners. A search is underway for a permanent CFO.


Financial Focus:

99¢ Only Stores announced its financial results for the fourth quarter and full-year fiscal 2013 ended March 30, 2013.  The Company’s net sales increased $137.0 million, or 8.9%, to $1.67 billion for the full-year of fiscal 2013 compared to $1.53 billion for fiscal 2012.


Mergers and Acquisitions:

Alco Stores has entered into a definitive merger agreement with  Argonne Capital Group LLC, a private investment firm based in Atlanta, Ga., , which will allow Argonne to acquire all outstanding shares of the broad-line retailer’s common stock for $14 per share in cash.

This price represents a premium of approximately 63% to Alco’s share price on July 24, 2013, the last trading day prior to Alco’s announcement of the transaction contemplated by the merger agreement. The cash price for Alco shares in the proposed transaction totals approximately $47 million.

The independent members of Alco’s board of directors have unanimously approved the merger agreement and recommended that the retailer’s shareholders approve the transaction.

The merger, which is expected to close later this year, is subject to approval from Alco’s shareholders and other customary closing conditions.


Industry Insight:

Advance Auto Parts announced the opening of its 4,000th store located in Montgomery, NY.

PB Teen, a division of Williams-Sonoma, opened its first store in Orange County, Calif., in Costa Mesa.

Toys “R” Us unveiled its growth plan for 2013.  In the United States, 19 new, converted or relocated stores are planned to open, including nine new Toys “R” Us Outlet stores – the largest number in a single year since it began opening these smaller format stores in 2010 – bringing the total number to 25 outlet locations nationwide.  Converted stores are accomplished by combining Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us together under one roof.

Tuesday Morning Corp. is ceasing e-commerce operations to focus on providing in-store assortments. A statement on the retailer’s website says that due to the nature of its closeout business, it will no longer sell items online but instead focus on the quality and price of assortments in its stores.

Walmart Canada opened its first supercenter in Atlantic Canada, in the Halifax Shopping Centre Annex in Halifax.  The store is one of 37 supercenter projects planned for the company’s current fiscal year, which ends January 31, 2014.

West Elm opened its first location in Missouri – at the St. Louis Galleria.  The 8,385-sq.-ft. store, slated to open in July, will incorporate works by local artists as part of its plan to support St. Louis talent.