Clarke confirmed as Asda CEO
BENTONVILLE, Ark. Walmart officially named Andy Clarke as head of its Asda unit in the United Kingdom, ending speculation that began last week following former CEO Andy Bond’s unexpected decision to relinquish the top job. Bond will remain as chairman, and Clarke assumes the role of president and CEO immediately. Clarke is an Asda veteran who joined the company in 1992 and progressed through a variety of roles that began with store manager. He left the company for a brief period from 2001 to 2005 to join Matalan, but returned to Asda as a retail director and was named COO in 2007. Bond said Clarke was the right choice for the job following a review of internal and external candidates.
Commenting on the leadership transition, Walmart international division president and CEO Doug McMillon said, “At Walmart and at Asda, we have a robust succession planning and talent development process and Andy Clarke has long been identified as a leader. He is the ideal person for the job and this will be a seamless leadership change.”
AAFES continues to invest in facilities
During a time when many retailers are tightening the reins on capital expenditures, AAFES (Army & Air Force Exchange Services), which finances projects through the sale of merchandise and services, is actually accelerating facility renovations to improve service. Funding comes strictly from self-generated, non-appropriated resources and is not a burden to the American taxpayer.
“With a slumping economy, shoppers have been asking more questions about capital improvements,” said Army & Air Force Exchange Service’s senior VP real estate Mike Gividen. “We want our customers to know we are investing in our facilities more than ever before.”
According to Gividen, there is a direct correlation between patronage at the exchange and resulting capital improvement projects.
“AAFES shoppers are essentially AAFES’ shareholders and our goal is to be our customer’s first choice,” he said. “As such, we have a responsibility to properly re-invest in our facilities to provide a pleasant, first-class shopping experience.”
The replacement of aging facilities begins with a thorough evaluation of factors such as age, potential demand and military transformation requirements. Once complete, AAFES’ real estate team is able to identify potential priority locations that are reviewed for replacement.
By the end of 2010, AAFES will have opened five new shopping centers, including the world’s largest exchange, a sprawling 490,000-sq.-ft., multi-use retail development, Freedom Crossing at Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas. It is the first-ever open-air shopping center to be located on Military Post. This is in addition to six new shopping centers opened in 2009.
Even as it invests in new construction, AAFES is also investing in image updates, or facelifts, of existing exchanges.
“As we executed renovation projects last year, we were experiencing 25%-30% savings because contractors needed work,” said Gus Elliott, VP facilities division in charge of renovations. “As a result, we decided to accelerate future renovations not only to realize capital program savings, but to help the local contractors with increased business during these tough economic times.”
AAFES plans to bring 24 exchanges up to current retail design standards in 2010.
Cleaning up after others
Target donated $50,000 to the National Wildlife Federation’s Gulf Oil Spill Restoration Fund to protect and rescue wildlife and habitats impacted by the oil spill and restore fragile nesting and breeding grounds damaged by oil infiltration.
“Target is committed to funding programs that provide disaster relief to communities in need,” said Laysha Ward, president of Target community relations and Target Foundation. “Through our donation to the National Wildlife Federation, we hope to help protect the precious coastal resources and wildlife threatened by this crisis and preserve them for the next generation.”
The National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest conservation organization with more than four million members, partners and supporters. The organization is likely to burn through Target’s donation quickly judging from how much BP, the company responsible for the oil spill, has already spent. The oil company said as of Monday it had spent $350 million on various efforts to contain oil hemorrhaging from the ocean floor in addition to cleanup efforts including the use of 275 vessels that so far have recovered about 90,000 barrels of oil.