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Deep-discounter names new CEO, new COO

99 Cents Only Stores has tapped a grocery veteran to be its new chief executive.

The deep-discounter, which operates 391 stores in California, Texas, Arizona and Nevada, appointed Jack Sinclair, currently 99 Cents’ head merchant and marketer, as CEO. He succeeds Geoffrey Covert, who is retiring after a 44-year career in retail.

Sinclair joined 99 Cents in 2015 as chief merchandising and marketing officer. He worked closely with Covert to dramatically improve the company's financial performance and position it for growth, the retailer said. Prior to joining 99 Cents, Sinclair led the grocery business of Walmart US from 2007 to 2015. He previously spent 14 years at Safeway in London where he had responsibility for operations, merchandising and marketing.

“99 Cents Only Stores is one of the most iconic and unique brands in retail today,” said Sinclair. “We look forward to continued growth, welcoming new customers to our existing stores and introducing our stores to new communities. We have ambitious goals and our growth trajectory is just beginning.”

Covert's retirement caps a 44-year career in the grocery retail sector. He joined 99 Cents as CEO in September 2015, having previously served as senior VP of Kroger Co. Prior to joining Kroger in 1996, he worked for 22 years in a number of management positions at Procter & Gamble Co.

Under Covert’s leadership, 99 Cents has successfully grown both revenue and adjusted EBITDA, the company said.

“Geoff's contributions to 99 Cents Only Stores have been invaluable and we are grateful for his leadership," said David Kaplan, co-founder and global private equity co-head of Ares Management, which purchased 99 Cents in 2011. “Today the company is well positioned to extend its recent growth trajectory, thanks to Geoff's stewardship and Jack's unique understanding of our business model, knowledge of the industry, and proven track record.”

In other appointments, Jason Kidd has been named as president and COO. He joined the company in 2014 as senior VP of store operations. Previously, Kidd held a senior VP role with Sam's Club.

Also, Norman Axelrod, a director since 2012, has been named chairman, succeeding Andrew Giancamilli, who will continue to serve as a director.
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