FINANCE

Build-A-Bear president resigns

BY Katherine Boccaccio

St. Louis — Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc. president John Haugh said Thursday that he will resign as the company’s president, as reported by the St. Louis Business Journal.

Haugh’s resignation is effective July 22, according to an SEC filing. His successor hasn’t been named, but current duties will be filled in the interim by Chief Financial and Operations Officer Tina Klocke, Chief Entertainment Officer Teresa Kroll and Chief Executive Maxine Clark.

Haugh has been at the helm since 2009.

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OPERATIONS

Naartjie Kids expands into Middle East

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Saudi Arabia — Children’s retailer Naartjie Kids said Thursday it opened its first Saudi Arabia flagship store on July 9 in the Riyadh Gallery Mall. The company said six additional Saudi Arabia stores are slated to open this month.

It is the retailer’s first foray into franchising, and will expand its global retail presence beyond the U.S. and South Africa into the Middle East and North Africa. The initial opening of seven Saudi Arabia stores is part of an exclusive multiyear licensing agreement with Fawaz Alhokair & Co. based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The Alhokair partnership includes the opening of an additional 50 plus retail stores by 2015 in the greater Middle East and North Africa regions.

Naartjie Kids will operate 52 wholly owned retail stores in the USA by year end 2011 with an additional 25 stores in South Africa.

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STORE SPACES

Giant Eagle unveils first two compressed natural gas fueling stations

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Pittsburgh — Giant Eagle on Thursday unveiled its first two compressed natural gas fueling stations in the Pittsburgh area at its Beechnut Drive retail support and distribution center, according to a report by Drug Store News.

"We are dedicated to doing business in the most sustainable manner possible across all of our business operations," said Giant Eagle executive VP and COO John Lucot. "Our efforts have been greatly advanced with the help of others, and we give thanks to the local and state officials here today, as well as to our allies at Volvo Trucks and EQT who partnered with us to make these facilities possible."

Lucot added, "This project delivers improved air quality for the region through emissions reductions, reduces dependence on traditional fuels, and serves as a regional catalyst for southwestern Pennsylvania in adopting and understanding alternative fuels and clean transportation technology."

According to data from the International Association for Natural Gas Vehicles, CNG typically is priced one-third below the cost of gasoline and diesel. In addition to cost savings, CNG reduces particulate matter emissions by 94%, carbon monoxide emissions by 75%, nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 49% and carbon dioxide emissions by 25%.

"Until now, there have been no viable alternative fuel options for heavy-duty delivery trucks with the necessary level of power required to navigate the region’s hilly and mountainous terrain," said Giant Eagle VP logistics Bill Parry. "To continue evolving our environmentally friendly fleet, Giant Eagle worked closely with Volvo to design the 10 new CNG vehicles here today with an 8.9-liter Cummins engine as the first of their kind in the commercial transportation industry."

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