Personnel Updates:

Big Lots has appointed former Kmart executive Andrew Stein as the company’s Senior VP and Chief Customer Officer, as the company focuses more intensely on bolstering its digital footprint.

Dollar General announced that Geoffrey Wigner its Exec VP of Facilities, has left the company to become senior director of store services for SMS Assist.

Dollar General announced two changes to its leadership team today meant to “align the company for continued future growth”.  Todd Vasos, previously Exec VP and CMO, has been named COO.  Vasos will oversee store operations, merchandising and the company’s supply chain. David D’Arezzo has joined the company to replace Vasos as Executive VP and CMO.

Family Dollar has announced that Jason Reiser has been elevated to the role of Senior VP/Lead Merchandising Officer.

Kmart announced that Tara Poseley, President of Kmart Apparel, has moved to Lululemon and has been named as Chief Product Officer.

Kmart marketing executive Andrew Stein has left the company to become Senior VP and Chief Customer Officer at Big Lots.

Office Depot, Inc. as formed by the merger of Office Depot and OfficeMax, announced the appointment of Roland C. Smith as Chairman and CEO.

Office Depot, Inc. also announced that as a result of Smith’s appointment as Chairman and CEO, Neil Austrian and Ravi Saligram, formerly co-CEOs of Office Depot, Inc. and previously of Office Depot and OfficeMax respectively have resigned from the company and Board.

QVC has promoted John Cowan to the position of Senior VP of Information Technology Global Services.

RadioShack Corporation announced the appointments of Paul Rutenis as Senior VP, Chief Merchandising Officer and Janet Fox as Senior VP of Global Sourcing.

Tiffany & Co.’s has promoted Frederic Cumenal to the position of President and appointed him to a newly created seat on the board.   Cumenal will also retain his regional responsibilities and will assume responsibility for the design, merchandising and marketing functions.

Toys R Us ended its eight-month search for a new CEO when it named Antonio Urcelay, European operations head and interim chief executive, to the post permanently. The toy retailer also named former Walmart executive Hank Mullany as its new U.S. President.  Urcelay, is expected to focus on boosting business internationally while Mullany leads domestic operations.

Toys “R” Us, Inc. announced that Exec VP Ira P. Hernowitz, has left the company to become president of the Stride Rite Children’s Group.

Walmart announced that Adrian Blake will join the company as Senior VP of Business Development for Walmart China.

Walmart announced that Rob Bray, currently Senior VP of Real Estate Design, Construction and Store Planning for Walmart U.S., will become Senior VP of Real Estate in China.

Walmart announced that Senior VP of Operations for Walmart’s Southeast division, Greg Sullivan, has left the company to work for Crocs.

Walmart announced that Hank Mullany has left the company to join Toys R Us as its new U.S. President to lead domestic operations.

Walmart announced that Senior VP Healthcare Solutions Dijuana Lewis has joined Aetna as an Exec VP.

Walmart announced that Mike Graen has left his position as Director of Innovations and Supplier Collaboration at Walmart to assume a new role with leading merchandising and marketing services company Crossmark.


Mergers and Acquisitions:

Advance Auto Parts agreed to buy General Parts International, a privately held parts maker, for $2.04 billion in cash.  The transaction is targeted to close by late 2013 or early 2014.


Industry Insight:

Building #19, the discount retailer, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy seeking court permission to hire Boston-based liquidation firm Gordon Brothers to embark on going-out-of-business sales.  The Building #19 co-founder and chairman Jerry Ellis, says he hopes to somehow save “maybe one or two stores” during this liquidation process, or at least keep the Building #19 brand alive in some way post-bankruptcy.

The Container Store completed its initial public offering of 14,375,000 shares of common stock at the price of $18.

Meijer opened its last new store of the year in Il.  The 190, 000-sq.-ft. store is the last of six new stores the retailer has opened this year in the Midwest, which represents its most aggressive expansion in recent history.

Office Depot and OfficeMax were given the green light for to complete their $1.2 billion all-stock merger by The Federal Trade Commission.  Office Depot and OfficeMax announced the completion of their merger.  The combined company will use the name Office Depot, Inc. and will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ODP.

Petco has opened its first store in Mexico and announced plans for continued expansion in Mexico and Latin America through a previously announced joint venture with Grupo Gigante of Mexico. Together, the companies plan to open as many as 50 Petco stores in Mexico and Latin America by 2020.

Sam’s Club opened six new 136,000-sq.-ft. units this month expanding its base of clubs to a record 630 units.

Shopko opened five new Shopko Hometown stores in November.

Teavana previewed the first-of-its-kind Teavana Fine Teas + Tea Bar in New York City’s Upper East Side.

West Elm opened a retail store in Birmingham, Ala., — it’s first ever location in the state.


Green Initiatives/Sustainability:

Target stores in Canada are now all LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certified, a first for a major retailer in Canada. By year end, Target expects to have 124 stores open in Canada and all are expected to have the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification. The retailer is taking advantage of the USGBC’s Volume Program which streamlines the certification process for buildings in both Canada and the U.S.  In order to obtain certification, remaining Target stores will undergo various rounds of audits throughout 2013, which must meet stringent criteria across five LEED categories including: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.
Walmart announced that its first location to be entirely lit with LEDs has opened, in South Euclid, Ohio, just outside of Cleveland. The store will serve as a model for environmentally friendly design for future locations, with 100% LED lighting, electric vehicle charging stations in the parking lot and more.

Other notable features of the store include:

  • LED lighting in the parking lot will reduce energy consumption by 50%, plus improve the quality of lighting for late night errands.
  • In daytime hours, skylights allow natural light to illuminate customers’ paths, reducing energy to light the sales floor by an average of 25%.
  • Re-using the heat from on-site refrigerant equipment can supply up to 60% of in-store hot water needs.
  • The use of a white membrane roof that reflects light better than a darker roofing color will helps reduce overall building energy consumption.
  • The chain is also testing the use of doors on cases that house deli meats, cheeses, yogurts, etc., with the hope of reducing refrigeration energy use by 20% or more.