CEO of The Limited stepping down; retailer names interim management team
Columbus, Ohio — The Limited has established an interim “Office of the President” to manage the day-to-day operations of the business while it searches for a new CEO. The retailer said that its chief executive, Linda Heasley, who joined in 2007, is stepping down to pursue other interests effective Feb. 15.
The interim office will be filled by three current executives, John Buell, EVP and CFO; Nicolas Frechette, SVP and general merchandise manager; and William Acevedo, SVP of stores; who will report to the board of directors.
The Limited has launched a nationwide search for a new chief executive to succeed Heasley.
"The board is very grateful to Linda and the management team for the passion and commitment they have demonstrated at The Limited," said T. Scott King, chairman of the board of The Limited. "The company has made major strides during Linda’s tenure, and we wish her the very best in her future endeavors."
Report: Founder of Best Buy may give up on takeover bid
New York — Richard Schulze, founder of Best Buy Co., may abandon a buyout bid and instead line up investors to take a minority position in the electronics retailer, Reuters reported.
Schulze informed the Best Buy board in August that he was interested in partnering with private equity partners to buy the struggling consumer electronics company. But he has been unable to get enough support from banks to finance a deal that would allow him to take it private, the report said.
"We believe the equity raise required for this deal would be a major challenge for Mr. Schulze given the potential size of the deal and the structural challenges facing the company," RBC Capital Markets analyst Scot Ciccarelli said in the Reuters report. "With that in mind, it doesn’t come as a surprise to us that Mr. Schulze is considering alternatives to his original plan."
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Whole Foods Q1 profit jumps 24%
Austin, Texas — Whole Foods Market Inc. reported that its first-quarter net income rose 24% to $146 million, exceeding expectations, on stronger revenue. But the grocer narrowed its revenue forecast and said its earnings growth may slow through the remainder of the year amid higher store-opening costs and plans to increase its selection of lower-priced products.
Total sales increased nearly 14% to $3.86 billion for the 16-week period that ended Jan. 20. Same-store sales were up 7.2% for the quarter.
Whole Foods opened 10 stores in the first quarter and has opened one store so far in the second quarter. It plans to open five additional stores in the current quarter.
The company said it recently signed 11 new leases averaging 38,800 sq. ft. in size. These stores are scheduled to open in fiscal year 2014 and beyond.
The retailer also closed on the purchase of six locations from Johnnie’s Foodmaster on Nov.30, which expands its presence in the Boston area. It is remodeling the stores and plans to reopen them under the Whole Foods Market banner in its 2013 fiscal year.
"We opened a record number of stores and delivered another quarter of strong sales and earnings growth," said Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market. "We are well-positioned to internally fund our expansion plans and have the pipeline and infrastructure in place for square footage growth to accelerate through 2014 and hopefully beyond."
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