News

Alice Walton to speak at U of A graduation

BY CSA STAFF

Alice Walton, the daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton and his wife Helen, is slated to deliver the commencement address at the University of Arkansas on Saturday, May 12.

She will also receive an honorary Doctor of Arts and Humane Letters degree. She is being honored for a lifetime of transformative achievements that have made an unprecedented impact on the people and the state of Arkansas, according to a press release from the University announcing the honorary degree and her involvement in commencement ceremonies. Walton’s accomplishments include a leading role in construction of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, her guiding position in the Walton Family Foundation, which has made significant donations to the University of Arkansas and her creation of the stunning Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, which opened last fall.

Overshadowed by Walton’s selection to deliver the all university address is a commencement speech to be delivered the following week by Walmart’s EVP and general counsel, Jeff Gearhart, who will address graduates of the University’s school of law. Gearhart graduated with high honors from the School of Law in 1989, and served as an editor of the Arkansas Law Review. He served as a partner at the Rose Law Firm and Kutak Rock LLP before joining Walmart in 2003. He has served as general counsel since 2009 and was promoted to corporate secretary in 2010.

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OPERATIONS

J.C. Penney names CFO

BY CSA STAFF

Dallas — J. C. Penney Co. said that Ken Hannah has been named CFO, effective May 7.

Hannah, who brings over 20 years of finance, operations and audit experience from a wide range of leading companies that include General Electric, Boeing and The Home Depot, has spent the last six years at MEMC Electronic Materials, where he served as president of solar energy, responsible for improving process discipline, simplifying the organization and reducing cost to drive growth in the company’s solar business

Before his current position, he was CFO of MEMC. Previously, he served as SVP finance at The Home Depot.

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OPERATIONS

Study: Academy Sports + Outdoors has highest customer satisfaction rate and higher repurchase intent

BY Marianne Wilson

Westlake Village, Calif. — Academy Sports + Outdoors, Katy, Texas, which operates 141 stores, ranks highest in customer satisfaction, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Sporting Goods Retailer Satisfaction Report. The inaugural report measures the overall sporting goods retailer customer satisfaction experience by examining five key factors: staff, cost, facility, merchandise and sales/promotions.

Among the eight retail brands included in the report, Academy Sports + Outdoors had an overall score of 796 (on a 1,000-point scale) and performed particularly well in the cost, merchandise and sales/promotions factors. Following Academy Sports + Outdoors in the rankings are Hibbett Sports (794) and Play It Again Sports (790), all outperforming the industry average of 780. Modell’s Sporting Goods had an overall rating of 784, followed by Dick’s Sporting Goods (783), Sports Authority (778), Dunham’s Sports (762) and BIG 5 Sporting Goods (758).

According to the report, 51% of Academy Sports + Outdoors customers say they "definitely will" repurchase from the brand, which is significantly higher than industry average (42%). In addition, 51% of the retailer’s customers say they "definitely will" recommend the brand, which is significantly higher than the industry average and most of the brands included in the report.

Further illustrating the relationship between high customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy is the fact that Academy Sports + Outdoors customers make an average of 3.0 recommendations, nearly twice as many as less satisfied customers (1.6).

The report also finds that while cost is important, a helpful and knowledgeable sales staff is the key driver of customer satisfaction with a sporting goods brand. Among the five study factors, staff has the highest importance weight in determining overall satisfaction (30%), followed by cost (23.5%) and facility (18%).

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