OPERATIONS

Best Buy to Seek New CFO

BY CSA STAFF

Minneapolis, Best Buy Co. announced late Wednesday that CFO Darren Jackson will be replaced as he moves to a customer-operations role.

Darren Jackson, 42, who has been CFO for seven years, will become executive VP of customer operations. The CFO of Best Buy’s U.S. operations, Jim Muehlbauer, 45, will be his interim replacement as an executive-search firm conducts a replacement search.

According to a statement issued by Best Buy president and CEO Brian Dunn, the change is meant to “drive growth by better meeting the needs of the unique customer groups.”

As part of the management shift, Kal Patel, 43, formerly executive VP of strategy and international business, will take on Jackson’s responsibility for portions of Best Buy’s emerging business unit, which Jackson headed.

David Berg, 46, COO of Best Buy International, will become senior VP of international strategy and corporate development. Kevin Layden, 47, president and COO of Best Buy Canada, is replacing Berg as COO Best Buy International. Best Buy Canada senior VP Mike Pratt, 40, will take over Layden’s role as president of the division.

Tim McGeehan, 40, executive VP of retail sales, will take over a new enterprise role overseeing Best Buy’s wireless business. Shari Ballard, 41, will become executive VP of retail channel management, Best Buy said. Ballard will continue to oversee U.S. Web sites and customer care, but no longer oversee the human resources and legal teams.

The retailer also said it hired Rebecca Wanta as CIO for North America. Most recently, Wanta was the global chief technology officer for PepsiCo Inc.

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Timberland to close specialty shops

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK, (Reuters) Bootmaker Timberland said it would close most of its specialty retail shops after the company said they expect their third-quarter earnings to be extremely low.

Most of the store closings will occur early next year, Timberland said, adding that it hopes to raise annual operating profits by $6 million, while lowering annual sales by about $40 million. The company said the closings are part of a transition to smaller, footwear-focused stores in the United States.

“We have decided to begin the closure of most of our specialty retail stores in the United States, as well as stores in Asia and Europe,” ceo Jeffrey Swartz said in a statement.

Sales of Timberland’s trademark work boots, a long-time fashion staple of urban consumers, have been declining recently with footwear trends moving toward sneakers.

The Stratham, N.H.-based company also said it expects third-quarter operating margins to dip 6 percentage points, a drop Timberland partly blamed on a voluntary recall of its Direct Attach Steel Toe Series footwear.

Timberland’s shares have fallen nearly 40% from their 52-week high of $33.45 on November 14. The stock closed Tuesday at $20.22 a share.

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Sears Canada to sell head office

BY CSA STAFF

TORONTO Sears Canada is making a move by selling its head office and surrounding property in Toronto, according to reports.

The 1,400-plus employees will be relocated to the top four floors of the Sears flagship store at the Toronto Eaton Centre.

Company spokesperson Vincent Power said that the store had been underperforming as consumers have stayed away from the upper floors. He believes that the store will be more productive on four floors rather than eight. The move comes shortly after the retailer sold off its corporate jet earlier this year.

A price for the head office sale has not been disclosed, although analysts estimate that it could be worth in the range of $93.8 million USD.

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