Personnel Updates

Alco announced that newly elected director Stanley B. Latacha will assume the role of interim CEO, effective immediately. The board said that it and Richard Wilson, Alco’s CEO for the last four years, mutually agreed to Wilson’s immediate departure. The board also added that Wilson was instrumental in professionalizing the Alco staff, overseeing the company’s move to Texas and leading the company through a challenging retail environment.

Amazon has confirmed that Senior VP and CFO Thomas J. Szkutak plans to retire from the company in June 2015. Succeeding him will be Brian T. Olsavsky, VP of Finance for the company’s global consumer business, reporting to founder and CEO Jeffrey P. Bezos.

Books-A-Million has named James Phelps as VP of e-commerce.

Gordmans Stores, Inc. has named Andrew T. Hall, President and CEO. Hall also was appointed to the company’s board of directors.

Hhgregg has added Robert J. Riesbeck to its executive team as CFO, as part of the retailer’s continued focus on transforming the business.

Kirkland’s Senior VP and CFO W. Michael Madden has been promoted to President and COO.  Kirkland’s expects Mr. Madden to assume the role of Chief Executive Officer after a period of orderly transition. Madden will remain the company’s principal financial officer pursuant to S.E.C requirements.

The company also promoted Senior VP of Stores/Human Resources Michelle R. Graul to Exec VP of Stores and Merchandising, and VP of Finance Adam C. Holland to Chief Accounting Officer.

The National Retail Federation performed an internal shuffle, first hiring Paul Martino as VP and Senior Policy Counsel and then by promoting Beth Provenzano to VP for Federal Government Relations.

The National Retail Federation has hired Mary Heitman as VP of Retail Programs.

Office Depot, has named Keith Sherwell as CIO of the international division.  Todd Hale will remain in his position as CIO of Office Depot.

QVC announced that Claire Watts has resigned from her role as CEO of U.S. operations to pursue other opportunities.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) announced that Nicholas Ahrens will join as VP of Privacy and Cyber Security.

Toys“R”Us has appointed a number of executives to key leadership roles, as part of its continued long-term profitable growth strategy. Debbie Lentz has been named Senior VP, Chief Supply Chain Officer.  In this role, she oversees inventory planning and allocation as well as e-commerce fulfillment, while driving efforts to significantly improve in-stock levels in-store and online. In addition, Lentz leads logistics strategy development for the company’s international markets.

Christine Morena has been named Senior VP, Human Resources.

Joe Venezia has been named Senior VP, Store Operations, Toys“R”Us, U.S. In this capacity, Venezia provides leadership for ensuring customers have a seamless in-store and online shopping experience through the company’s omnichannel offerings, including Ship from Store and In-Store Pickup.

In addition, the company recently announced the appointments of Michael Short as Exec VP, CFO, Toys“R”Us, and Chetan Bhandari as Senior VP, Corporate Finance and Treasurer, Toys“R”Us.

Financial Focus:

Costco announced that for the 52-week fiscal year ended August 31, 2014, the company reported net sales of $110.2 billion, an increase of seven percent from the $102.9 billion reported in fiscal year 2013, ended September 1, 2013

Tuesday Morning Corporation announced financial results for the fiscal year period ended June 30, 2014.  For the twelve months ended June 30, 2014, net sales were $864.8 million, a 3.2% increase over the $838.3 million in net sales for the same period last year.  Comparable store sales increased by 6.1% for the twelve months ended June 30, 2014, compared to the same period last year, and were comprised of a 9.5% increase in customer transactions, partially offset by a 3.1% decrease in average ticket. Comparable sales for our ongoing core categories increased 12.3% for the twelve months ended June 30, 2014 compared to the same period last year. Gross profit was $302.2 million and gross margin was 34.9% for the twelve months ended June 30, 2014, compared to $259.4 million of gross profit and gross margin of 30.9% for the twelve months ended June 30, 2013.

Mergers and Acquisitions:

Mister Car Wash is in the process of being sold by owner ONCAP, the mid-market arm of Onex Corp, to Leonard Green & Partners.  Leonard Green is paying $400 million to $500 million for Mister Car Wash.  Mister Car Wash operates 134 car washes including 32 express lubes.

Industry Insight:

Costco announced plans to open nine new warehouse stores before the end of calendar year 2014.

Five Below opened its first location in Brooklyn, four years after it opened its first location in New York City.

Fred’s Inc. today reported plans to close 60 stores without pharmacies by the end of the year, freeing up capital for an acceleration of its pharmacy acquisitions.  The decision comes as Fred’s shifts to a business model that puts a heavier emphasis on its stores’ pharmacy and convenience segments.

Michaels returned to public ownership when it sold 27.8 million shares at $17 to generate net proceeds of $446 million.

Michaels expects to open 21 new stores during the second half of the year

Staples announced that after disappointing sales and profits for the second quarter, it would close about 140 stores this year as part of its broader plan to reorganize the business and place greater emphasis on e-commerce.  Eighty of those stores were closed down during the second quarter. As many as 225 stores in total may be closed through next year, as the company looks to reduce costs by a half-billion dollars.

Green Initiatives/Sustainability:

Staples Advantage, the business to business division of Staples, has launched a Technology Recycling Service, so businesses can recycle old electronics.

The program, offered in partnership with Electronic Recyclers International (ERI) allows businesses of all sizes to recycle large volumes of electronics conveniently, responsibly and in a secure manner, the company said.

Staples Advantage’s new program allows businesses to recycle equipment — from cell phones and keyboards to telecom equipment and multi-function devices — by complete the following three steps:
1. Order recycling boxes online at
2. Fill boxes with electronics and ship back to Staples using a provided return label.
3. Receive a Certificate of Recycling from Staples that their electronics have been properly recycled and data safely removed. The certificate is accredited by the e-Stewards Initiative, a project of the Basel Action Network, which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the responsible recycling of e-waste.

Staples Advantage will also integrate this offering into its future Managed Print Services contracts, providing a seamless way for companies to recycle devices no longer needed after a consolidation effort.

The cost for the service will range from $15 to $500 depending on the size of the box ordered, with options ranging from a 9” x 5” x 3” box to full pallets. Customized sizes are also available.