C-SUITE

Chairman of Pier I Imports to fill in as CEO

BY Marianne Wilson

Still on the hunt for a new chief executive, Pier 1 Imports has tapped its chairman to serve in the role on an interim basis.

The home furnishings and décor retailer has appointed Terry E. London, chairman of the board, to the position of interim president and CEO. His appointment takes effect on January 1, 2017, in conjunction with the planned departure of Alex W. Smith, the current president and CEO of Pier I, on December 31, 2016.

Smith has been CEO of Pier I since 2007. In September, the home décor retailer said he would retire at the end of the year. The announcement came after the company reported its fourth straight quarter of sales declines.

“I am pleased to step in as Interim CEO as we continue to collaborate with Korn Ferry on our search for a new chief executive officer,” said Terry London, chairman. “The board has worked diligently to identify exemplary candidates who share our commitment to delivering long-term shareholder value. Notably, the next leader of Pier 1 Imports will be just the fifth CEO in the company’s nearly 55-year history.”

London has served as the non-executive chairman of the board of directors of Pier 1 Imports since June of 2012 and has been a director since 2003. Until July of 2015, he served as chairman of London Broadcasting Company, which he founded in 2007 to identify and acquire media and entertainment companies.

He was previously President and CEO of Gaylord Entertainment Company, a diversified media and entertainment company.

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FINANCE

Retail sales inch up in November

BY Marianne Wilson

The start of the holiday shopping season did not bring with it a big jump in retail sales.

Retail sales, excluding automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants, increased 0.1% in November, according to the National Retail Federation, less than many analysts had expected.

The NRF said that the November gain came on top of a strong October, and that retail sales were up 5% year-over year. It said November’s results indicate that retail sales for the holiday season will meet or exceed its holiday forecast, which anticipates an increase of 3.6% over last year’s level for November and December.

In other NRF findings:

• Online and other non-store sales increased 0.1% seasonally adjusted over the previous month and increased 15.3% unadjusted year-over-year.

• Sales at clothing and accessories stores were flat from the previous month and increased 1.9% unadjusted year-over-year.

• Sales at general merchandise stores increased 0.1% seasonally adjusted over the previous month and decreased 1.4% year-over-year.

• Electronics and appliances stores’ sales increased 0.1% seasonally adjusted over the previous month and decreased 2.5% unadjusted year-over-year.

• Furniture and home furnishings stores’ sales decreased 0.7% seasonally adjusted over the previous month and decreased 7.2% unadjusted year-over-year.

• Sales at building materials and supplies stores increased 0.3% seasonally adjusted over the previous month and increased 7.5% unadjusted year-over-year.

• Sporting goods stores’ sales decreased 1% seasonally adjusted over the previous month and increased 1.6% unadjusted year-over-year.

Sales at health and personal care stores increased 0.1% seasonally adjusted over the previous month and increased 7.7% unadjusted year-over-year.

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TECHNOLOGY

C-store chain improves fresh offerings through machine learning, IoT

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Love’s Travel Stops is known for its fresh restaurant offerings, so ensuring food quality throughout the supply chain is paramount.

By adding a food temperature monitoring and task logging system from Digi International, the convenience store chain is simplifying employee tasks, and ensuring public health compliance.

“Part of our core values is to 'focus on the customer in everything we do,’ and embrace innovative thinking," said Joe Cotton, director of restaurant services for Love's Travel Stops.

The new platform, which is based on machine-to-machine (M2M) and driven by the Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity, addresses both of Love’s goals.

Specifically, the task management application allows Love’s to capture and manage daily tasks and temperature logs on any smartphone. Wireless temperature sensors and IoT technology ensure consistency and compliance with local and company food safety standards.

Meanwhile, enterprise level cloud-based reporting provides real-time insights, allowing managers to continuously improve operational efficiency. Tasks can be assigned and customized by role, defined by time slot or shift and frequency, and set for alert notifications. Data is hosted on servers managed by Digi International.

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