OPERATIONS

Coldwater Creek CEO to retire; to be succeeded by chief merchandising officer

BY Marianne Wilson

Sandpoint, Idaho — Coldwater Creek Inc. announced that co-founder Dennis Pence will retire as president and CEO, effective December 31, 2012. He will remain as a director and continue to serve as chairman of the board until January 1, 2014.

Pence will be succeeded as president and CEO by Coldwater president and chief merchandising officer Jill Brown Dean, effective January 1, 2013. Dean has also been appointed to serve on the board of directors, effective January 1, 2013.

"It gives me great satisfaction to announce today the succession of Jill to the role of CEO,” Pence said. “Her outstanding leadership, combined with her intimate knowledge of our customer and our brand, gives me great confidence in her ability to continue to lead the turnaround of our company, positioning us for a vibrant and successful second chapter in our history.”

Dean joined Coldwater Creek in February 2011, as president and chief merchandising officer. Prior to that, she served as president of the Limited Too division of Tween Brands from October 2006 to April 2008.

In other news, Michele Donnan Martin will join Coldwater Creek as SVP, general merchandise manager, and will be responsible for leading all product merchandising functions. Previously, she was the brand president, Retail and Direct at Delia’s.

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News

Fresh Market maintains growth trajectory

BY CSA STAFF

Rapidly growing food retailer The Fresh Market experienced a bit of a hiccup with its third quarter results, but president and CEO Craig Carlock contends the company’s long term vision remains intact.

Sales at the 128 unit retailer increased 22.1% to $321.5 million and profits increased 19% to $10.9 million, but analysts were looking for stronger profits and lower expenses. Some also believed the company’s relatively young store base should have produced a same store sales increase stronger than the 5.6% figure the company reported.

Carlock defended the performance and maintained a 5.6% comp was a solid increase considering same store sales grew by a similar amount during the third quarter the prior year.

"Our comparable store sales grew 5.6%, and importantly, customer transactions grew nicely even as we cycled on solid transaction growth during last year’s third quarter," Carlock said. "Additionally, during the quarter, we opened six new stores, including our first California store. Subsequent to quarter-end, we entered into four leases for new stores in Houston, Texas that we expect to open in the latter half of fiscal 2013. Our store openings in Houston will mark our entrance into Texas, just as our store opening this quarter in the Sacramento area marked our entrance into California."

Entry in California and Texas give the company a toehold in the nation’s two most populous as well as intensely competitive grocery markets. Nevertheless, Carlock said the company was enthusiastic about the consistency of its business and the portability it concept while reaffirming a long term commitment to growing at a 15% annual rate.

 

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FINANCE

Prospects bright for holiday sales among luxury consumers

BY Marianne Wilson

Stevens, Pa. — Luxury consumers picked up their pace of shopping in the third quarter, with luxury spending up 25.8% over last quarter, according to Unity Marketing’s Luxury Tracking Survey. "The first half of 2012 showed affluent consumers restrained in spending on luxury goods and services, but spending rebounded strongly in the third quarter survey with signs pointing to rising demand during the critical fourth quarter," said Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing.

Over half (52%) of affluent consumer surveyed feel they are financially better off today than twelve months ago; this measure hasn’t been this high since first quarter 2011.

“Rising even more sharply is the percentage of luxury consumers who feel the country as a whole is doing better now as compared with three months ago,” Danziger said. “Some 37% of affluent surveyed feel the country is now moving in the right direction, up 15 percentage points from last quarter."

Unity Marketing is optimistic about prospects for the fourth quarter especially for retailers that attract affluent consumers, including both the upper-middle income HENRYS (high earners not rich yet with incomes $100,000 to $249,999) and the luxury-leaning ultra-affluents (top 2%, incomes $250,000 and above).

“These affluent consumers are the economy’s ‘heavy-lifters,’ accounting for only 20% of U.S. households, but over 40% of all consumer spending,” Danziger said. “They drive the consumer economy overall and are the primary customers for retailers like Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus and luxury brands such as Ralph Lauren, Coach, Louis Vuitton, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors and Tiffany."

Click here to read more.

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