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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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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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PetSmart expands with new concept stores

BY Marianne Wilson

PetSmart continues to grow its store portfolio — and is also testing new formats.

The chain opened 20 stores across the U.S. and Canada for the quarter ending October 31, 2016. This adds to the 23 stores it opened in the first and second quarters, bringing the total number for the year to 43 new locations.

Among last quarter’s openings were the PetSmart Pet Spa in Oceanside, N.Y., and PetSmart at the Beach in Toronto, new concept stores where the company is testing innovative ways to combine pet services and an enhanced pet lifestyle experience in a smaller retail footprint. The stores feature a unique, modern design with 5,000-8,000-sq.-ft. footprint, which is smaller than PetSmart’s typical stores, which average approximately 18,000 sq. ft. -20,000 sq. ft.

A first for PetSmart stores, the PetSmart Pet Spa store concept includes a self-service dog wash, a new grooming salon design and a coffee bar-lounge area with complimentary coffee and comfortable seating for pet parents, among other amenities.

“We are excited about our continued growth in key markets across North America,” said Brian Amkraut, senior VP of real estate, strategy and initiatives. “These new stores allow us to build on the continued trend of premiumization in the pet industry. We are able to reach more pet parents by expanding in new growth markets and providing more convenient locations and options to our pet parents.”

In addition to continuing to expand its brick-and-mortar locations, PetSmart recently launched its new and improved web site, which has a mobile-responsive design and a commerce-meets-content experience with key enhancements that reflect feedback from pet parents.

The site includes features including a one-page checkout and new tailored home delivery options such as recurring subscription-based shipping, as well as same-day and scheduled delivery in 16 U.S. markets.

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