American Eagle Names New VP, CFO
New York City, American Eagle Outfitters Inc. promoted Joan Hilson to executive VP and CFO of the company. Hilson previously served as CFO of Limited Brands Inc.’s Victoria’s Secret Stores before joining the company in September. Additionally, Hilson temporarily took on the financial duties after former CFO Laura Weil resigned to become COO of Ann Taylor Stores Corp.
Wal-Mart to Demote ‘Smiley’ in New Marketing Strategy
New York City, The grinning yellow “Smiley” icon that has been the centerpiece of Wal-Mart Stores’ “always low prices” advertising for the past 11 years is being demoted in favor of actors and celebrities who will promote products rather than focus on low prices. The Wall Street Journal reported that in a sweeping overhaul of its mass advertising in the past year, Wal-Mart and its two ad agencies, Bernstein-Rein Advertising Inc. and Omnicom’s GSD&M, are looking to motivate customers to shop for more than just basic goods. The discounter wants to spur more sales of high-margin general merchandise to boost its sluggish growth in same-store sales. Wal-Mart’s new ad strategy is to appeal to shoppers’ interest in an intriguing yet calm shopping environment rather than sending Smiley careening across their television screens slashing prices on products. Smiley “was a character that we dressed up, and we have tried to move from that to an emotion, a feeling,” John Fleming, Wal-Mart’s chief marketing officer, told The Wall Street Journal. “We’ll see how it goes and evaluate it.”
Longs Drug to Buy 24 Pharmacies
Walnut Creek, Calif., Longs Drug Stores Corp. entered into an asset purchase agreement with Network Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to purchase 22 retail pharmacies, one wholesale pharmacy and one closed door pharmacy in Southern California for about $10 million, plus inventory. The transaction is expected to be completed in the second quarter and is subject to customary closing conditions.
The retail pharmacies average approximately 1,100 square feet and are located within or near medical office buildings, clinics and hospital lobbies. Upon completion of the transaction, Longs Drugs plans to operate the pharmacies under the name Network Pharmacies.