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News Briefs

  • 6/19/2023

    Live wrestling’s back at Mall of America


    If a big mall is truly “of” America, it has to fit big-time wrestling somewhere inside its galleries, don’t you think?

    Mall of America did it 27 years ago when it hosted the very first episode of World Championship Wrestling’s Monday Nitro with a bill headed by Hulk Hogan, Sting, and Ric Flair. It got back into the ring last year with Saturday Night Nitro, an event put on by Minneapolis-based F1RST Wrestling. That packed the house, and so it’s back again this year.

    Saturday Night Nitro will return to Mall of America’s Huntingdon Bank Rotunda on September 9, but the fun for wrestle-maniacs will begin on Friday the 8th with a Fan Fest giving them the opportunity to meet their favorite wrestlers in person.

    “Last year’s event was epic, truly a dream come true for fans of sports entertainment.” said Chris Grap, VP of experiential at Mall of America. “These fans are the some of the best we’ve ever had in the Rotunda. After witnessing firsthand the rapturous reception to last year’s event and how quickly it sold out, we knew we needed to do it again.”

    Tickets for the event go on sale this week, and Mall of America is expecting another sell-out.

    The headline match at WCW’s Monday Nitro debut at MOA on September 4, 1995, had Hulk Hogan clashing with Big Bubba Rogers. It also provided the stage for Lex Luger’s emergence as a WCW star after leaving the World Wrestling Federation.

  • 6/8/2023

    Ashley’s newest pop-up hits the Santa Monica Pier

    Ashley’s newest pop-up is turning California’s Santa Monica Pier into a “vacation oasis.”

    Ashley, formerly Ashley Furniture, is putting a summertime spin on its newest pop-up installation.

    The home furnishings retailer is creating a “vacation oasis” on California’s storied Santa Monica Pier, June 17-18. Called “Ashley’s Beach Retreat,” the temporary experience will highlight the Ashley’s outdoor furniture, including swivel lounge chairs, sofas and chaise lounges.  

    The event will also feature live music from DJ Bella Fox, and will offer unique experiences, including beverages from Coconuts by Coco Lily, games, a sunglass station where shoppers can create beaded sunglass chains, and more. Following the event, Ashley will donate all of the installation’s furniture to the Santa Monica Pier for use in future activations — a move that promotes offering a sustainability and ensures less waste. 

    “We’re excited to bring Ashley’s new outdoor pieces to the Pier,” said Kelly Davis, VP of marketing Strategy at Ashley. “We can’t wait for guests to experience the same quality, style and durability that Ashley is known for at one of the country’s most celebrated beaches.”

    Ashley operates more than 1,125 locations in 67 countries.

  • 6/8/2023

    Rite Aid names chief legal officer

    Rite Aid operates more than 2,300 retail pharmacy locations.

    Rite Aid has made an addition to its executive leadership team.

    The company has appointed Thomas Sabatino as executive VP and chief legal officer. He will oversee the organization’s legal affairs, including enterprise risk management, compliance, regulatory affairs and privacy.

    Sabatino brings four decades of experience in the legal field navigating complex business needs. He was most recently the executive VP and general counsel at Tenneco. His expertise in the health care industry includes previous executive roles at Aetna, Walgreen Boots Alliance, Schering Plough Corp., and Baxter International Inc., where in each instance he was instrumental in driving large-scale growth and operational effectiveness.

    “As we continue to accelerate our performance and grow our capabilities, we are pleased to welcome Tom to the Rite Aid team,” said Busy Burr, who was named interim CEO of Rite Aid in January. “We believe Tom’s proven leadership and extensive background in the healthcare industry and company transformations will help us further our mission to provide whole health for life to all of our customers.”

    Sabatino will become a member of the company's executive leadership team and report to Burr. 

    “This is an exciting time to join Rite Aid and be part of a performance-driven workforce focused on revitalizing operations and making a meaningful impact on improving health outcomes for all people,” said Sabatino. “I look forward to supporting these efforts while strengthening our internal legal, compliance, and governance-related capabilities so that Rite Aid remains uniquely positioned to realize its vision for the modern pharmacy.”

    Rite Aid employs more than 6,300 pharmacists and operates more than 2,300 retail pharmacy locations across 17 states.


  • 6/5/2023

    GNC exec joins C-suite at Rue21

    Rue 21

    Another GNC senior leader has made the move to Rue21.

    The teen apparel retailer named Karlyn Mattson executive VP, chief customer officer. Mattson joins Rue21 from GNC, where she most recently served as executive VP, chief merchandising officer. Her appointment comes several months after Rue21 named former GNC head Josh Burris as CEO. 

    Rue21 said that Mattson will leverage her extensive industry knowledge to advance the company “customer-first focus and deepen relationships with its diverse community.”

    Prior to joining GNC in 2021, Mattson served as general manager-merchandise strategy, new business development and women Zappos,  and as chief merchandising office of Famous Footwear.  

    Mattson  also spent nearly nine years in senior merchandising roles at Target Corp.  Before Target, she was with Macy

    "Karlyn's industry leadership and dedication to customer needs is perfectly aligned with our mission at Rue21," said president and CEO of Rue21. "Her unique background will be invaluable as we continue to cultivate our commitment to building the most relevant and mainstream fashion destination.”

    Mattson will play a pivotal role in the company's merchandising, planning and marketing operations. She will oversee rue21's omnichannel strategy and upcoming marketing campaigns to support the company's efforts in being the most relevant fast-fashion retailer in the country, according to the company release.

    "I am incredibly excited to join the rue21 team," said

    Headquartered  inPa., Rue 21 currently operates over 600 US stores in 45 states. 

  • 6/1/2023

    Mall location doesn’t work out for Wegmans


    Wegman’s nearly decade-long search for a site in Natick, Mass., about 20 miles east of Boston, ended in 2018 when it landed a 134,000-sq.-ft. spot in Natick Mall.

    Five years later, its rare mall residency has ended for lack of traffic.

    “Making these decisions is never easy. However, we do it for the long-term benefit of our people, our customers, and our communities,” said Brien MacKendrick, human resources director of Wegmans’ New England division. “With this non-traditional location we are unable to attract enough customers for our business model to work.”

    The store’s 365 employees all are being offered positions at other Wegmans locations in the Greater Boston area, where it operates five other stores employing some 2,700 people.

    The Natick Wegmans was the Rochester-based mega-market chain’s first multi-level store and one of its largest. It operates 110 stores along the East Coast, 49 of them in New York State.

    “We love our Natick community and customers, and we’re eager to pursue new store locations in the area for the future,” MacKendrick said.

    The family-owned and run company led by chairman Danny Wegman and president andCEO Colleen Wegman celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016. Wegmans has been named one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” by Fortune magazine for 25 consecutive years, ranking #4 in 2023.

  • 6/1/2023

    Foxtrot opening its largest location yet

    Foxtrot offers on-demand delivery through its app. (Photo: Foxtrot)

    Foxtrot is going big in Austin.

    The retailer, which describes itself as the modern convenience brand, is set to unveil its largest location to date, in the Bouldin Creek neighborhood of Austin, Texas. Foxtrot combines neighborhood retail and e-commerce technology with a curated selection of local faves and emerging brands.  The company is headed by former Taco Bell executive Liz Williams, who took the reins from co-founder Mike LaVitola in April.  

    Opening on June 5, the 6,000-sq.-ft. Austin outpost, which includes an indoor-outdoor covered patio, was once two buildings:  an auto repair shop and a grocer. Both are now bridged together, pulling in different elements of each to create a cafe, market and courtyard.  The space was designed by Foxtrot’s in-house design team in partnership with Scott Magic, of Magic Architecture.  Neon Jungle’s Evan Voyles, created a custom neon marquee sign for the store.

    This is Foxtrot’s second location in Austin, with a third set to open in the upcoming weeks, at the base of Austin City Hall. The company currently has 27 locations across Chicago, Washington, D.C., Dallas and Austin, with plans to continue expansion in existing markets this year. 

    The new Foxtrot features the retailer’s all-day café offerings, which include coffee, seasonal drinks, fresh smoothies, breakfast tacos, chef-prepared salads and bowls and grab-and-go meals for lunch and dinner. The curated market selection ranges from craft beers and wines to everyday essentials, with an emphasis on local products from local makers.

     Foxtrot offers pickup and on-demand delivery through its mobile app. 

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