OPERATIONS

Cosmetics Veteran to Lead Victoria’s Secret Beauty Division

BY CSA STAFF

Columbus, Ohio Limited Brands Inc. has hired cosmetics-industry veteran Shashi Batra to serve as president of Victoria’s Secret Beauty business, effective Jan. 22.

Batra previously served as president of N.V. Perricone, a cosmetics company that sells topicals and dietary supplements. He’s also a founding member of Sephora USA.

Batra replaces former Victoria’s Secret beauty president Christine Beauchamp, who announced plans to resign in late 2007 because of changes to her role through a company restructuring.

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Big Lots reports exec changes

BY CSA STAFF

COLUMBUS, Ohio Big Lots today announced a retirement, advancements, and new assignments.

Donald Mierzwa, evp of store operations, will retire April 15, 2008, after 19 years with the company. Mierzwa oversaw store standards, customer service, personnel development, and program implementation for the chain’s 1,300+ stores in 47 states. A search will begin immediately for his successor.

Norman Rankin has been named senior vp of Big Lots Capital and will be responsible for Big Lots Capital and the wholesale division. Rankin will report to ceo Steve Fishman in his new role.

Robert Segal has been promoted to senior vp of general merchandise manager responsible for the furniture and home divisions.

Charles Haubiel II has assumed additional responsibility for the company’s real Estate Department and has been named senior vp of legal and real estate. He will continue to serve as the company’s general counsel and corporate secretary.

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BJ’s monthly merchandise comps up 5.9%

BY CSA STAFF

NATICK, Mass. BJ’s Wholesale Club reported that total sales for December 2008 increased by 3.2% to $1.06 billion from $1.03 billion in December 2007. On a comparable-club basis, sales increased by 1.6% for the month of December, including a negative impact from sales of gasoline of 4.3%. Excluding gasoline sales, merchandise comparable club sales increased by 5.9% in December.

BJ’s reported that a comparable-club sales increase of approximately 9% in food was somewhat weaker than planned and reflected the impact of sales interruptions in the Northeast caused by winter storms during critical food shopping periods. An increase of approximately 2% in general merchandise sales was somewhat higher than planned and was driven by strong sales of low-margin televisions and other consumer electronics, and by a higher level of promotions and price reductions versus last year, particularly in seasonal and toys. Sales decreased during the first three weeks and increased during the last two weeks. The decreases in weeks two and three reflected the negative impact of snow and ice storms in the Northeast.

For the month of January 2009 the company expects to report an increase in merchandise comparable club sales, excluding gasoline sales, of approximately 6%.

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