News Briefs


Subway taps Advance Auto Parts CFO to head finance

Subway CFO

The quick-serve restaurant company has appointed Jeff Shepherd as CFO. He succeeds Ben Wells who will retire at the end of the year after a 46-year career.

Most recently, Shepherd served as executive VP and CFO of Advance Auto Parts where he set financial strategy for the business and led the company's finance functions.  Prior to joining Advance in 2017, Shepherd spent seven years at General Motors,  including serving as controller General Motors Europe.  He also held a series of leadership roles with Ernst & Young.

"Jeff has a well-earned reputation for driving strong financial results for global brands, bringing nearly 30 years of financial and accounting experience to our organization," said Subway CEO John Chidsey. "As we welcome Jeff to Subway, we also thank Ben for his significant contributions. Since joining the company in December 2019, Ben has been a key driver of our brand's global financial stability and strategic growth, contributing to 11 consecutive quarters of positive sales results."

Shepherd, who is is based in the company's Shelton, Conn. Headquarters, will work closely with Wells for the remainder of the year to ensure a seamless transition.

Subway has nearly 37,000 locations in more than 100 countries.



Home Depot tops estimates; big-ticket spending still under pressure

Home Depot exterior

The Home Depot beat Street estimates for its third-quarter but sales fell as customers steered clear of certain big-ticket items and focused on smaller projects.

On a positive note, company CFO Richard McPhail  told analysts during the chain's earnings call that "the worst of the inflationary environment is behind us."

The home improvement giant reported net income of $3.8 billion, or $3.81 a share, for the quarter ended Oct. 29, down from $4.3 billion, or $4.24 a share, in the year-ago period.   Analysts had expected earnings per share of $3.75.

Sales fell 3% to $37.7 billion, just ahead of estimates of $37.6 billion.  Same-store sales fell 3.1%, with U.S. comp sales down 3.5%. Customer transactions fell to 399.8 million from 409.8 million in the year-ago period.

"Similar to the second quarter, we saw continued customer engagement with smaller projects, and experienced pressure in certain big-ticket, discretionary categories,” stated CEO Ted Decker. “We remain very excited about our strategic initiatives and are committed to investing in the business to deliver the best interconnected shopping experience, capture wallet share with the Pro, and grow our store footprint." 

The retailer narrowed its prior fiscal 2023 guidance range. Sales and comparable sales are expected to decline between 3% and 4% compared to its previous expectation of a 2% to 5% decline. Diluted earnings-per-share-percent-are expected to decline between 9% and 11%. compared with its prior estimate of a 7% to 13% drop.

At the end of the third quarter, the company operated a total of 2,333 retail stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, 10 Canadian provinces and Mexico. 


Pizza Guys plans Texas expansion

Pizza Guys

A California-based pizza chain is setting its expansion sights on the Lone Star State.

Sacramento-based Pizza Guys has announced plans to open nearly 150 locations in Texas, including over 50 locations to the Dallas/Fort Worth area, over 50 stores to the Houston area, 20 stores to the San Antonio area, and nearly 20 stores to the Austin area.

"We are planning to take on the Texas market by storm by opening up to 150 locations with dedicated high working entrepreneurs," said Shahpour Nejad, CEO and co-founder of Pizza Guys. "We're hoping to bring our innovative flavors and brands to the South, so that Texas natives can have delicious pizza made with high quality ingredients right in their backyards!"

Founded in 1986 and franchising since 1994, Pizza Guys currently operates 87 in three states. The company operates three stores in Nevada and two in Oregon.

According to its website, Pizza Guys offers customers “high-quality, gourmet pizza” using 100% whole milk mozzarella cheese, fresh-made daily dough, and California-grown tomatoes.  

"Pizza Guys has high hopes for the state of Texas as we intend opening dozens of locations in each major market," said Nejad. "As Pizza Guys grows, the brand is excited to reach new areas and make meaningful connections within local communities. We are looking for new franchisees that want to introduce a new refreshing pizza concept to the market. Our ideal franchisee is someone that wants to impact the Texas community in positive ways through delicious food and amazing opportunities."


Klarna launches hosted online storefronts in U.S.

Klarna Creator Shops

U.S.-based creators have a new option for directly selling products to consumers via the Klarna platform.

Klarna, which allows U.S.-based creators to promote and sell products via shoppable video, is now providing them a hosted Creator Shops offering following a successful introduction in Europe. 

The Creator Shops tool provides independent sellers the ability to launch their own storefronts on the Klarna website and technology to support e-commerce operations. As a result, consumers can find and shop creators’ product recommendations in one place. 

Through Klarna’s Creator Platform, creators can recommend products from retailers, post shoppable videos and photo content, and share links to their personal shop across their social channels. Shoppable videos uploaded to the Creator Shops page will soon also be automatically shared directly into the Klarna app, enabling creators to reach Klarna’s extended network of 27 million monthly app users.

"Building on our suite of marketing and ad solutions for retailers, Klarna’s Creator Shops and Ads Manager continue to transform the company beyond BNPL into a growth partner and retail media network within the industry,” said David Sandstrom, chief marketing officer, Klarna. “Our combined network of over one million retail partners and creators globally now have even more powerful ways to reach Klarna’s 150 million high-intent shoppers, while consumers can enjoy a more relevant and personalized shopping experience."


Report: Amazon promotes exec to new president of fashion & fitness

Approximately 25% of Americans shop on Amazon once a week or more.

Amazon has tapped a company veteran to replace the outgoing president of its fashion & fitness division.

Mudge Erdrik Dogan, a 16-plus-year Amazon veteran, is stepping down as president of Amazon Fashion & Fitness for a new position outside the company, according to GeekWire. Dogan has been in the role since February 2021.  Her reported departure follows the news that Amazon had decided to close its two Amazon Style physical retail stores and focus on its online fashion shopping experience, saying it will introduce innovative technology to better serve the needs of fashion customers.

Jenny Freshwater, who most recently served as VP of traffic and marketing technology, is being promoted to president of the division. She joined Amazon in 201.

Dogan, who holds a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University, joined Amazon in 2007 as senior product manager. Before her promotion to president of Amazon Fashion, she served as VP of worldwide last mile delivery and pick-up at Amazon from 2018 to 2021.

Freshwater began her Amazon career as a data engineering manager in 2010, and has also held VP-level positions at the company handling forecasting and capacity planning, as well as traffic and marketing technology.

Amazon has not posted anything about any changes in its Fashion & Fitness senior management, and neither Dogan nor Freshwater has updated their LinkedIn profiles as of the time of this article’s posting.

Read more coverage from GeekWire here.


Amazon partners with Meta for Facebook, Instagram shopping


Amazon shoppers can now buy products directly on Facebook and Instagram without leaving the social apps. 

Amazon has partnered with Meta for in-app shopping on Facebook and Instagram.  According to a support page on its website, Meta now lets consumers to directly link their Facebook and Instagram social media accounts to Amazon. By opting in to the new offering, Facebook and Instagram users will be able to see real-time pricing, Prime eligibility, delivery estimates and product details on select Amazon product ads in Facebook and Instagram.

As a result, participating Facebook and Instagram users can make purchases from Amazon by clicking on ads in their social feeds, without having to leave the Facebook or Instagram app.

The account linking is voluntary, and participating consumers can choose to unlink their Amazon and Meta accounts at any time in the Meta Accounts Center.

“For a more seamless shopping experience from an ad on Facebook and Instagram, you can choose to link your Meta and Amazon accounts.,” Meta said in the support page post.

Chain Store Age has reached out to Amazon for commentary. In a comment published on CNBC, an Amazon spokesperson said, “For the first time, customers will be able to shop Amazon’s Facebook and Instagram ads and check out with Amazon without leaving the social media apps.”

The CNBC article also quoted a LinkedIn comment from Meta marketing leader Stuart McMullin, who said, “It was a long process in the making and a huge deal.”

Chief Amazon rival Walmart simulcasts shoppable livestreams on Facebook, allowing Facebook followers of retailers, brands, publishers, and influencers receive an alert when they go live on a Walmart live shopping broadcast, giving consumers the ability to watch and shop directly within the social network.

The deal also comes as TikTok is looking to challenge Amazon by diving into e-commerce. In September, the company launched its long-anticipated TikTok Shop in the United States.  The video-focused social media platform says it has more than 150 million U.S. users.