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News Briefs

  • 3/14/2024

    Longtime CEO of Fossil out amid strategic review; Kevin Mansell named chairman


    Fossil Group is on the hunt for a new chief executive.

    The struggling watchmaker said that Kosta N. Kartsotis is stepping down as CEO and board member, effective immediately. To ensure a seamless transition, he will remain with Fossil in a transitional role until September 2024. After that, Kartsotis, who had led the company for nearly 25 years, will provide consulting services to the company until September 2025. 

    Jeffrey N. Boyer, executive VP and COO since April 2021, has been appointed as interim CEO and as a board member. The board has retained an executive search firm to identify a permanent CEO and will consider both internal and external candidates. 

    The leadership shakeup comes as Fossil continues to struggle. The news of the change was included in the company’s fourth quarter and full-year results. For the year, sales fell 16% to $1.4 billion and net losses totaled $157 million. The company also announced a strategic review of its current business model and capital structure. 

    Kevin Mansell, lead independent director, has been appointed as chairman, effective immediately. Mansell, who was elected to the board in May 2019, has over 40 years of retail industry experience, most recently serving as chairman, CEO and president of Kohl’s Corp. until his retirement in May 2018. 

    “On behalf of the entire board, I thank Kosta for his unwavering commitment and leadership to Fossil,” stated Mansell. “We have great confidence in Jeff to guide the company through this period of transition as we undergo a strategic review, continue to advance our Transform and Grow Plan and pursue our search for the company’s next CEO in our effort to create long-term value for our stockholders.”

  • 3/11/2024

    The Body Shop ceases all U.S. operations; files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy

    The Body Shop

    The Body Shop has shut down all of its U.S.-based operations.

    The global natural beauty and skincare products retailer has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in court documents filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The U.S. operation has assets of between $50 million and $100 million, and liabilities of between $10 million and $50 million, the court documents revealed.

    Earlier this month, the Canadian subsidiary of the Body Shop announced it has started restructuring proceedings by filing a Notice of Intention (NOI) to Make a Proposal pursuant to the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (Canada). While all of Body Shop Canada’s 105 store remain open for business, the retailer has identified 33 stores it will close in the “near term,” with liquidation sales already underway. 
    In the same release, the company said that, as of March 1, 2024, The Body Shop US Limited has ceased operations.

    The move comes after The Body Shop was acquired by a private equity firm, which put its U.K. business on the selling block in February. According to a report by WWD,  the retailer plans to close 75 stores across the U.K., leaving it with 116 stores.

  • 3/8/2024

    MG2 launches new advisory service


    Global architecture and design firm MG2 has expanded its offerings.

    The firm has launched MG2 Advisory, a new service designed to provide strategy and insights to empower emerging and established DTC retail brands, national retailers and mixed-use developers working with retail tenants. MG2 principal and retail strategist Melissa Gonzalez leveraged her early years on Wall Street with trend-setting retail experiences and proprietary consumer insights research to develop the new service.

    MG2 Advisory is an outgrowth of services that the company has provided to a select number of design clients for many years. Now also available as a standalone offering, Advisory provides clients with the added benefit of a library of consumer insights reports and years of proprietary research.

    Combining hands-on, tactical project experience, industry knowledge, and established positioning as thought leaders, MG2 Advisory will support clients at all stages of the project lifecycle and provides customized solutions based on their distinct needs and goals.

    A proprietary model serves as the foundation for every project and partnership, with a holistic, four-stage methodology exploring the sociological, psychological, and emotional needs of target personas. The process is designed to clients unlock competitive differentiation and uncover new ways to elevate and reimagine brand experience and environmental design.

    “Our four-step approach does more than provide solutions to specific, agreed-upon objectives but also uncovers additional opportunities for brand positioning and differentiation as well as future iteration and optimization," said Gonzalez.

  • 3/6/2024

    Wawa in summer hiring offensive

    Wawa will open its first stores in Ohio in mid-2025.

    It’s only March, but Wawa is already thinking summer.

    The convenience-store chain has launched  hiring efforts for the summer season with the goal of hiring close to 1,500 new employees for roles at Wawa stores from the New Jersey Shore to the beaches of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.  With more than 60 stores located in those areas preparing for the summer season, the recruiting campaign will continue through the summer season. 

    The annual employment effort is focused primarily on filling the seasonal jobs needed to support summer store operations and bolster Wawa’s growing family of associates. 

    “It’s never too early to start planning for summer and that includes lining up seasonal work while spending time at the beach or shore,” said Maria Kalogredis, chief people officer, Wawa. “We have many associates that start with us during the summer and enjoy their experience so much that they stay with us and go on to soar to new heights in their careers.” 

    In February, the retailer announced plans to open more than 70 new stores in 2024. The openings will include Wawa’s first locations in three new states: Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina. 

    The privately held Wawa operates nearly 1,000 locations throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Florida and Washington, D.C. It has more than 40,000 employees.


  • 3/7/2024

    Express delisted from New York Stock Exchange

    Express store

     Express, Inc. is no longer trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

    The trading of the fashion retailer’s common stock on the NYSE was suspended after the market closed on Wednesday, March 6.  The NYSE reached its decision to delist Express after the company failed to comply with a rule that requires listed companies to maintain an average global market capitalization of at least $15 million over a period of 30 consecutive trading days.  Express stock will now trade publicly on the OTC Pink Market under the symbol "EXPR."  

    In February,  The Wall Street Journal reported that Express was prepping for a debt restructuring that includes the possibility of filing for bankruptcy.  The report also said that the retailer was trying to avoid a filing for bankruptcy by restructuring debt outside of filing for Chapter 11.

    Express operates approximately 530 Express  and Express factory outlet stores in the United States and Puerto Rico; approximately 60 Bonobos Guideshop locations and 12 UpWest retail stores in addition to e-commerce sites.

    "Over the past several months, we have taken decisive steps to position Express for the long term, including implementing a series of cost-saving initiatives and streamlining our process to enhance operational efficiency," said Stewart Glendinning, CEO, in a statement on Wednesday. "We remain focused on continuing to serve our customers and positioning our organization for the future."

    In January 2023, Express and WHP Global entered into a strategic partnership that included an intellectual property joint venture to scale the Express brand through new category licensing and international expansion opportunities.


  • 3/6/2024

    Ashley Home acquires Resident Home Inc.


    Ashley Home has acquired a leading digital mattress retailer.

    The furniture chain, an affiliate of Ashley Global Retail, will acquire Resident Home Inc., a digital retailer and wholesaler of mattresses and bedding accessories whose brands include Nectar, DreamCloud, Awara and Siena. The transaction, which was unanimously approved by the boards of both companies, provides Resident with an opportunity to expand its home furnishings assortment and global footprint.  

    Through Ashley's affiliate company, Ashley Furniture Industries, Resident will experience improved sourcing and efficiencies to foster additional growth in both its direct-to-consumer and wholesale businesses. 

     In addition to Resident's digital presence, Resident's mattresses are sold at over 2,500 U.S. retailers nationwide as well as in Canada and the U.K. As part of the transaction, Resident co-founders and co-CEO's Eric Hutchinson and Ran Reske, will remain in their positions post-closing.

     “This partnership marks a significant milestone for our team and our journey,” stated Hutchinson. “We believe that together, we can achieve even greater heights and deliver unparalleled value to our customers. Joining forces with Ashley enables new opportunities for growth and our team is excited about the possibilities ahead.”

    "We are incredibly excited about the possibilities that Resident brings to Ashley.  In only a few years, Resident has established itself as a premier destination for mattresses, and we believe this merger will strengthen both companies and accelerate our growth trajectories, together bringing more products to more homes," said Todd Wanek, CEO of Ashley.

    Ashley the largest furniture store brand in North America, with more than 1,125 locations in 67 countries.

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