News

Butler employs social media to tame Irma’s effects

BY Al Urbanski

As Hurricane Irma moved northward up the Florida peninsula, Butler Enterprises was ready with a plan to use social media to keep beleaguered Gainesville residents supplied with necessities.

On Sept. 5, director of marketing Mary Reichardt put Butler Plaza’s Facebook and Twitter accounts to work as emergency notification services. At the height of the flooding and power outages in Gainesville, Butler posted ongoing updates on which stores at its nearly 300-acre complex had received supplies of gas, water, flashlights, batteries and bread.

Updates continue to be posted by Butler as locals still labor to take things back to normal.

“At first, I and the property manager did regular tours of the stores and posted photos and reports of products on shelves,” Reichardt said. “Before long we started receiving updates directly from tenants like Lowe’s because their customers were coming in and telling them they’d read on the Shop at Butler Facebook page that they had lumber.”

The same occurred when Sam’s Club received the first truckload of gasoline to enter Gainesville post-storm.

One Facebook friend posted a thank-you note on the Facebook page that said, “Not only is Butler Plaza the best place to shop in Gainesville, you also performed a valuable public service in a very difficult time.”

A side-benefit for Butler was forging new bonds with tenants. “Our relationships grew significantly because of the storm,” Reichardt said.


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FINANCE

Teen apparel retailer emerges from Chapter 11

BY Marianne Wilson

Rue21 is looking towards the future.

The retailer announced Friday that it has completed its financial restructuring and has emerged from bankruptcy. The chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May 2017, listing $307 million in pre-petition assets. It filed a month after it said it would close 400 stores.

"We are pleased to be moving forward with rue21's next chapter of growth as a highly performing and distinctive retailer," said Melanie Cox, CEO of rue21.

Rue21 currently operates 758 stores in 45 states in shopping malls, outlets and strip centers, and on its website.

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C-SUITE

Report: Aerosoles exec to lead Walmart’s online fashion team

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Walmart has tapped a retail veteran to bolster its foothold in its growing online fashion category.

Denise Incandela was named Walmart’s senior VP, fashion, effective October 2, 2017. She will lead the fashion businesses for Walmart.com, Jet.com, and Shoes.com, according to Fashion Network. In her new role, she will report to Walmart’s chief revenue officer Scott Hilton, the report said.

Most recently, Incandela served as CEO for Aerosoles. Incandela took on the role in April, succeeding R. Shawn Neville, who assumed the role of executive chairman of the board. She was also appointed to the company’s board of directors.

Prior to Aerosoles, Incandela served as president for Ralph Lauren’s global digital division. She was also executive VP and chief marketing officer for Saks Fifth Avenue, and executive VP ad president of Saks Direct.

Last week, Aerosoles filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as it looks to shutter nearly all of its U.S. stores. Aerosoles plans to maintain four flagships, in New York and New Jersey, as it shifts its focus to enhancing its e-commerce, wholesale and international businesses.

Incandela’s appointment is Walmart’s latest move to strengthen its online fashion offering. For example, the retailer acquired Shoebuy in December 2016, followed by outdoor apparel retailer Moosejaw in February and ModCloth in March. In June, the chain announced it would purchase Bonobos for $310 million in cash.

In a move to woo millennial shoppers, the retailer plans to sell the upscale Bonobos or ModCloth brands on Jet.com — a company that Walmart acquired in September 2016.

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