Industry Updates: Discount and Specialty Stores – July 2015
Dollar General Corporation announced the appointment of John W. Garratt as interim CFO effective July 1, 2015. He follows David Tehle, who had previously announced his retirement in March 2015. The Company has engaged a leading executive search firm to assist with the search for a permanent CFO and will consider both internal and external candidates for the job.
Dollar General has named five executives to key leadership positions within its merchandising and supply chain organizations. The company announced internal promotions in both its merchandising and global supply chain functions as the company enhances its management team:
- Cindy Long has been promoted to Senior VP, GMM with responsibility for the apparel and home categories.
- Carol Nakauchi has been promoted to VP, DMM, responsible for home, which includes domestics, housewares and home décor.
- Steve Jacobson has been promoted to Senior VP, Global Sourcing Operations, with responsibility for enhancing the company’s global sourcing footprint.
- Mike Kindy has been promoted to Senior VP, Global Supply Chain with responsibility for Transportation as well as Inventory and Demand Management, Demand Planning and Supply Chain Solutions.
- Jeff Harpole has been promoted to VP of Transportation with responsibility for trucking and global supply chain logistics.
With more than 12,000 stores in 43 states, Dollar General has more retail locations than any retailer in America.
Gracious Home announced that new ownership is now in charge of the company. A former Walmart executive has joined with a real estate executive to expand New York City-based luxury home décor retailer. Dottie Mattison who served in a variety of executive roles from 2006 to 2010 at Wal-Mart, has teamed up with David Mitchell to buy a majority stake in Gracious Home for an undisclosed price. Mattison will serve as CEO and Mitchell as Chairman. The former majority owner of the retailer, investment group Americas Retail Flagship Fund, now becomes a minority owner.
Kmart announced that Chief Merchandising Officer Mark Andeer has left the company,
Kmart announced that with the departure of Mark Andeer, Ms.Kelly Cook has been named the company’s new Chief Merchandising Officer.
Pep Boys had been looking for a new CEO since last September when former CEO Mike Odell stepped down after seven years with the company. At the time the company announced a comprehensive, nationwide search for a new CEO. Longtime board member John Sweetwood was tapped to fill the CEO position on an interim basis, until a permanent replacement could be found. After nine months the search is finally over. Pep Boys has found its new leader in Scott Sider, who spent the past 32 years with Hertz Rant A Car.
Toys”R”Us announced that the architect of the reinvention of Domino’s Pizza has become its new CEO. David A. Brandon has succeeded Antonio Urcelay, as he retires from the company. Mr. Brandon is now Chairman and CEO.
Ollie’s Bargain Outlet pans to go public in order to fund accelerated growth plans.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Dollar Tree Inc. announced that it has completed its $8.5 billion acquisition of Family Dollar Stores Inc. Dollar Tree also named a new president and COO of Family Dollar. The combined company will operate about 13,000 stores, making it the largest dollar store chain in the U.S. by store count. Under the terms of the merger agreement first announced and unanimously approved by each company’s Board of Directors in July 2014. The company also announced that Gary Philbin has been named President and COO of Family Dollar. In his new role, Philbin will continue to report to Bob Sasser. Philbin joined Dollar Tree as Senior VP of Stores in December 2001, and was later promoted to COO in March 2007 and to President in June 2013.
Follett Corporation and Nebraska Book Company announced that Follett has purchased Neebo, Nebraska Book Company’s retail store division. The agreement adds more than 200 complementary campus retail stores to Follett’s portfolio, making Follett the operator of more than 1,150 local campus stores and 1,600 virtual stores across North America. For Nebraska Book Company, the agreement underscores its full commitment of resources to providing textbooks, strategic services and technology products to independent college retailers nationwide.
Office Depot shareholders approved of the company’s acquisition by Staples in a vote that will prove to be largely symbolic if federal regulators determine a deal involving two direct competitors is not in the best interest of consumers.
Office Depot agreed to be acquired by Staples on Feb. 4 and on June 19 a preliminary vote total showed that 99.5% of shareholders approved of a deal that involves them receiving $7.25 in cash and 0.2188 of Staples stock for each share of Office Depot stock.
The company noted that the transaction is expected to close by the end of the calendar year, but also acknowledged it is subject to customary closing conditions, including antitrust regulatory approval.
Approval from the Federal Trade Commission may eventually come, but most likely not without some significant strings attached. Office Depot acquired OfficMax less than two years ago and now the combined company’s acquisition by Staples would consolidated the office products retailing channel into one pure play competitor.
Even Dollar Tree was forced to divest more than 300 Family Dollar stores to secure regulatory approval of its acquisition of the company and Dollar Tree and Family Dollar operate vastly different business models.
Anna’s Linens announced that it has has hired Hilco Merchant Resources and Gordon Brothers Group to begin going-out-of-business sales at all retail locations. The joint venture partners were awarded the store closing process by a U.S. bankruptcy court on June 18. The sale will include the total liquidation of all merchandise, much of which had been re-stocked within the week prior to the commencement of the going-out-of-business sales. Store furniture, fixtures, and equipment will also be available for sale.
Shopko is continuing on its growth path with the opening of 15 new Shopko Hometown stores across eight states this July. The new locations join 20 stores Shopko already opened earlier this year and more than 15 additional stores the company plans to open in October.
Walmart is not only saving water at its 3,700 or so garden centers, it’s also boosting the health of its plants.
The secret is the WaterPulse irrigation mats, which the Longmont, Colorado-based WaterPulse Company provides to the world’s largest retailer. Before the implementation of the mats, Walmart associates would manually water the thousands of plants sold in an average garden center. Now, the mats do all the work, according to the company. Water savings comes from the capillary action of the mats, which enables the soil to take in the water it needs — no more, no less.
To date, Walmart has installed more than 500,000 Retail Mats with Vortex Injector systems — in excess of 7.3 million sq. ft. of WaterPulse mats. The company plans to deploy WaterPulse mats in new garden centers as they are built.