STORE SPACES

Api(+) expands staff

BY Staff Writer

Tampa, Fla. — Retail architecture and design firm api(+) announced the appointment of John Ziebarth as studio director for its food service group. He was most recently brand design manager for the specialty restaurant group at Darden Restaurants, Orlando, Fla.

As studio director for api(+)’s food service group, Ziebarth, a registered architect, will lead brand strategy design, construction documentation and construction administration services. He brings 22 years of professional experience in branding and project management for high-end restaurants including Eddie V’s and The Capital Grille, as well as food retail, hospitality, and specialty retail.

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Digital Future director predicts Facebook decline

BY CSA STAFF

Facebook just reported record levels of user engagement along with fourth quarter sales and profits that blew away forecasts, but a new study offers a more measured view of the social media network’s longer term prospects.

The director of the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future Jeffrey Coles and the research firm Bovitz conducted a survey last fall in which one third of respondents said they will be using Facebook less in five years.

"While many users say they will use Facebook less, the service will continue to be a primary communications tool for large numbers of users," said Greg Bovitz, president of Bovitz and a senior fellow at the Center for the Digital Future. "We anticipate that Facebook will continue to serve as an ‘online watering hole’ — a place where users can coordinate their communications, stay in touch with friends and groups, create events, and build a comprehensive personal online presence — in a way that microblogs currently can’t.”

According to Cole, the growth of Twitter and Instagram show that users are eager to get their voices out there in a quick and engaging way. Social media users, teens and Millennials especially, are craving to be heard and microblogs like Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr are becoming the most powerful way to deliver their messages.

“It’s all about having a highly visible personal presence online that can be communicated quickly, if anyone is listening,” Cole said.

According to Cole, the survey’s findings reinforce his earlier predictions about erosion in the use of mass-market social media sites by young audiences. For example, in 2005, Cole said he predicted that the young user base at MySpace would decline and in 2010 he said Facebook would continue to grow for at least five years while losing some of its appeal with young audiences.

Facebook won’t collapse as a social platform as MySpace did, according to Cole, since it now has more than one billion users and should reach at least 1.5 billion users with especially strong growth in developing countries.

"Facebook paid $1 billion for Instagram and unsuccessfully offered $3 billion for Snapchat," said Cole. "If Facebook wants to maintain its dominance among teenagers, it will have to continue to open its checkbook and write multi-billion dollar checks."

Instead of being the primary social media site for trendsetters, Cole said, "Facebook will become the phone directory for the planet. Young users will to go to Facebook as the place where they communicate with their families, and as the site where they search for someone. Then users will move that relationship to a smaller online community, such as a microblog."

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Diane Sullivan steps into CEO role at Brown Shoe Company

BY CSA STAFF

Diane Sullivan is now CEO, president and chairman of the board of Brown Shoe Company. The company’s board of directors appointed her as chairman last June, and her new role became effective Feb. 2.

Sullivan was named president and CEO in May 2011. Since that time she has been focused on aligning the company’s brands and businesses with both its mission and strategic financial goals. During the past two years, Brown Shoe Company has made great strides in its portfolio realignment efforts at the infrastructure, retail and brand levels, which has led to a significant improvement in shareholder value.

Sullivan joined Brown Shoe Company in 2004 as president and assumed the additional role of chief operating officer in 2006. She was elected to Brown Shoe Company’s board of directors in 2007. Prior to Brown Shoe Company, she worked at the Stride Rite Corporation, where she served as president and chief operating officer of the corporation and as a member of the board of directors. From there, Sullivan went to Phillips-Van Heusen as vice chairman of footwear before joining Brown Shoe Company. In addition to serving on several footwear industry boards, Sullivan is currently on the boards of BJC HealthCare and Enterprise Holdings, as well as the board of trustees at Washington University.

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