Borders announces exec changes
ANN ARBOR, Mich. Borders Group announced that Mike Edwards has been appointed president of Borders Group and president and CEO of Borders Inc., the principle subsidiary of Borders Group. Bennett LeBow, who recently became chairman of the Borders Group board of directors, will serve as CEO of Borders Group. Edwards will report to LeBow.
Edwards has been interim CEO of Borders since January. He joined the company in September 2009 as EVP and chief merchandising officer. Before joining Borders, he most recently served as president and CEO of Ellington Leather, a Portland, Ore.-based leather handbags and accessories wholesaler. From 2004 through 2007, Edwards was president and CEO for lucy Activewear, a division of VF Corp. He has also held executive management positions in merchandising and operations with Jo-Ann Stores, West Marine Inc., Golfsmith and CompUSA, as well as buying and merchandising posts with Target and the May Department Store Company.
LeBow, who recently made an equity investment of $25 million in Borders through an entity he controls, is chairman of the board of Vector Group, a company he’s been affiliated with since 1986. In March of 1996, under his leadership, Liggett Company, owned by Vector Group, became the first tobacco company to settle smoking-related litigation. Before devoting himself completely to private business in 1968, LeBow served in the Pentagon initially as a First Lieutenant and subsequently as a civilian, serving as assistant to the assistant vice chief of staff of the U.S. Army.
Pier 1 Q1 comps up 14.3%
FORT WORTH, Texas Pier 1 Imports reported that comparable-store sales for the first quarter ended May 29 increased 14.3%. Last year’s comparable-store sales declined 7.5% for the first quarter ended May 30, 2009. Total sales for the quarter improved to $306 million compared with $281 million in the year ago quarter.
Alex Smith, president and CEO said, “We are extremely pleased with our first quarter sales increases. Comp-store sales continue to be driven by consistent increases in conversion rate, average ticket and traffic. As previously reported, March sales benefited from the earlier Easter holiday but business was solid throughout April and May ending with a strong Memorial Day weekend. All major merchandise categories performed well during the quarter and the variations in the performance geographically were much less than last year. We look forward to discussing our first quarter results in detail during our upcoming conference call.”
Report: Consumer spending slows in Q2
PURCHASE, N.Y. According to the lates report from MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse, this month, more retail sectors showed a respite in year-over-year growth, as slow economic recovery appeared to weigh on the U.S. consumer’s spending behaviors.
Michael McNamara, VP research and analysis for SpendingPulse, observes, “The momentum in consumer spending that was building through the first quarter, seems to be taking a breather in the second quarter of 2010, at least so far. Financial volatility in the capital markets and ongoing macroeconomic issues could account for this shadow cast over the recovery in consumer spending. Some sectors seem to be responding to specific disruptive events, such as the expiration of the Federal housing tax credits, where previously we’d noticed a beneficial “echo” effect on housing related categories such as Furniture and Furnishings. In addition, Memorial Day occurring a week later than it did last year, could have pushed some spending into June, 2010. Nevertheless, we continue to see strength in pricing, and in most categories, we are registering solid increases in the SpendingPulse Price Index, indicating that inventories continue to be aligned to demand, and retailers have not had to return to steep discounting.”
According to the report, May was another strong month for e-commerce, with the channel seeing sales increase 13.7% over May 2009. The best performing sub-categories of e-commerce were children’s apparel and family apparel, growing 30.4% and 26.2% respectively, on a year-over-year basis.
Electronics and appliances sales were down 0.7% from last year. Consumer electronics sales fell by 0.8%, while appliance sales were flat. SpendingPulse reported that the appliance category’s flat sales could be explained by expiration of the Federal Housing Credit at the end of April, while the lack of new product launches in the consumer electronics sector could account for any weakness in this usually strong sub-category.
In a second month of decline, total U.S. apparel decreased 3.7%, with declines in all sub-categories except children’s apparel, the report found. Steepest declines were in men’s apparel, down 10.4%, the usually strong footwear category, down 7.3%, and women’s apparel, down 6.1% . However, pricing continued to hold firm for the category as a whole, showing a healthy 5.4% increase in the overall apparel pricing index, on a year-over-year basis, SpendingPulse reported.