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News Briefs

  • 3/19/2024

    PetSmart exec joins C-suite at Guitar Center

    Guitar Center

    Musician instrument retailer Guitar Center has appointed a new chief merchandising and marketing officer.

    Kristin Shane will fill the role effective immediately, where she will be responsible for product, promotions, visual merchandising, omni-channel experience and activations. 

    Shane joins Guitar Center from PetSmart, where she served as senior VP and chief merchandising officer for two years. Earlier in her career, from 2005 to 2016, where her last role was VP and merchandise manager for the beauty and personal care business.

    “As a visionary leader and a world-class merchant, we are thrilled to welcome Kristin Shane to our executive team,” said Guitar Center CEO Gabe Dalporto, who was appointed to the position last October. “Kristin’s impressive track record of market and sales growth, coupled with her nearly 20 years of retail expertise in the specialty product market, will be instrumental in activating Guitar Center’s new strategic direction and creating a more customer-centric experience.” 

    Guitar Center operates more than 300 stores across the U.S., as well as having a strong omnichannel presence. Guitar Center’s sister brands include Music & Arts, which operates more than 250 stores specializing in band & orchestral instruments for sale and rental, and Musician’s Friend, a leading direct marketer of musical instruments.

    “Guitar Center stands at the forefront of the musical instrument retail industry, and I am humbled  to be part of its next chapter," said Shane. "Together, we will continue to build on the company's legacy, setting a new course to revolutionize the end-to-end customer experience. Leveraging my background in transforming retail spaces and driving significant market growth, I am eager to implement forward-thinking strategies that not only drive business results but also enrich our customer journey.”

  • 3/19/2024

    SpartanNash promotes chief human resources officer

    Nicole Zube

    Food solutions company SpartanNash has promoted one of its senior VPs.

    Nicole Zube has been promoted from senior VP to executive VP and chief human resources officer. Zube joined the company in September of 2022 from Kellogg Company, where she spent over 10 years and most recently served as head of HR.

    She worked in a variety of human resources roles at Kellogg, including a three-year stint in the United Kingdom, where she was senior HR director of European supply chain and senior HR director of European talent and diversity. Prior to Kellogg, Zube worked in various HR positions during her eight-year career at Procter & Gamble.

    "Nicole's work to support our family of 17,000 associates has better positioned the company to deliver on our promise of customer-focused innovation," said SpartanNash CEO Tony Sarsam. "Nicole has driven remarkable, measurable impact that is felt by every individual associate across the organization, and we are proud to recognize her talent, leadership and passion with this well-deserved promotion."   

    SpartanNash operates 144 brick-and-mortar grocery stores, primarily under the banners of Family Fare, Martin's Super Markets and D&W Fresh Market, in addition to dozens of pharmacies and fuel centers.

  • 3/18/2024

    Kroger to sell specialty pharmacy business


    The Kroger Company is getting out of the specialty pharmacy business. 

    The grocery giant said it has entered a definitive agreement to sell its specialty pharmacy unit to CarelonRx, a unit of U.S. health insurer Elevance Health. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but it is not expected have an effect on Kroger’s full-year financial outlook, the company said.

    Kroger’s specialty pharmacy business serves patients with chronic illnesses that require complex care, including rheumatoid arthritis, growth hormone deficiencies, multiple sclerosis and bleeding disorders. It is separate from the chain’s in-store pharmacies and The Little Clinics, which are not part of the deal.

    "As part of our regular review of assets, it became clear that our strong specialty pharmacy business unit will better meet its full potential outside of our business,” said Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Health. “One of the most important considerations was continued operations to ensure minimal disruption to our associates and patients. We are confident this transaction will help the business to grow and deliver better results for patients."

    The sale is not connected to Kroger’s proposed merger with Albertsons, reported by MarketWatch. In February, the FTC  issued an administrative complaint and authorized a lawsuit in federal court to block the merger.

    The deal, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the second half of 2024. It is not expected to impact Kroger's 2024 fiscal forecasts.

    RBC Capital Markets, LLC is serving as financial advisor and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP are serving as legal advisors to Kroger.

  • 3/17/2024

    Baskin-Robbins adds mobile ordering feature to app

    Baskin-Robbins mobile app

    Baskin-Robbins has added a new feature to its mobile app to bolster convenience for its customers.

    Customers nationwide can now order ice cream, sundaes, beverages and more through the BR App, with items ready for pickup in as little as 15 minutes. First launched in 2016, the BR allowed customers to access coupons and promotions. Now, customers can order ahead and pick up their items in store.

    “When we set out to evolve the BR App experience, we kept digital convenience and guest feedback top-of-mind,” said Nicole Boutwell, senior director of customer marketing & brand experience at Baskin-Robbins. “With these expanded capabilities to our app, guests can enjoy their favorites faster and unlock new ways to celebrate all of life’s moments with ice cream.”

    To promote the new feature, customers can save $3 on an order of $10 or more, available for all registered app users through May 17 with promo code TASTY at checkout.

    Founded in 1945, Baskin-Robbins, known for its 32 flavors of ice cream, operates more than 7,700 retail shops in 33 global markets.

  • 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.

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