OPERATIONS

Design Forum founder Lee Carpenter leaving Interbrand

BY Marianne Wilson

Dayton, Ohio — Interbrand, a leading global brand consultancy, announced Wednesday that Lee Carpenter is leaving his current position as CEO of the North America region. Carpenter, CEO of Interbrand North America since 2007, will step down from his full-time role, effective July 23. He will continue to advise Interbrand during the next three months, but has decided to focus his attention on other personal opportunities.

Carpenter started Design Forum in 1978 as a traditional retail design firm in Dayton, Ohio. But surrounded with great creative talent and innovative thinking, he envisioned a wider scope for the role of design in retail problem solving. In 2002, Design Forum was acquired by Interbrand, extending its reach to help brands globally develop sound strategies and ground-breaking new brand experiences. In 2007, Lee assumed his current chairman and CEO role leading all of Interbrand’s North American units.

During his career, Carpenter has worked with a roster of international clients including Walgreens, Best Buy, Porsche, Burger King, AT&T, Disney, Chase, J.C. Penney, Honda, FedEx, Applebee’s, John Deere, Holiday Inn, The Home Depot and Procter & Gamble.

Josh Feldmeth, who currently leads Interbrand’s New York, San Francisco and Toronto offices has been promoted to succeed Carpenter. He will report directly to Interbrand Global CEO Jez Frampton, and will also sit on the Interbrand Global Executive Committee.

Dirk Defenbaugh will continue to lead Dayton-based Interbrand Design Forum.

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Tractor Supply plows ahead, comps advance

BY CSA STAFF

Sales at Tractor Supply’s 1,331 stores topped $1.5 billion during the first quarter but decelerating comp store growth and cool spring weather weighed on profit growth.

Sales at the nation’s largest rural lifestyle retailer increased 8.8% to $1.58 billion from $1.46 billion while same store sales advanced 1.9% on top of a prior year gain of 7.2%. Profits during the company’s second quarter ended June 28 increased 8% to $133.4 million, or 95 cents a share, compared to $123.6 million, or 87 cents a share.

The company said its same store sales growth was driven by consumable, usable and edible products (C.U.E.) and solid traffic counts. Offsetting those strengths was some deflation and weakness in the company’s safe category and weaker than expected sales of certain seasonal products primarily in the Northern regions. Sales trends accelerated during the quarter as weather became less of a factor and trends in the business were consistent with expectations.

"Sales in our everyday core C.U.E. offerings were strong throughout the second quarter. However, unseasonably cool weather in the early part of the quarter negatively impacted sales of spring seasonal merchandise,” said Greg Sandfort, president and CEO. “As the weather improved midway through the quarter, sales of spring seasonal products improved and have continued to meet our expectations in July.”

Although the comp increase was lighter than the prior year, it was the 25th consecutive quarter in which the company has posted an increase, no small accomplishment in the retail industry.

“We ended the quarter in great shape from an inventory position and a go-forward merchandise perspective, and feel good about our ability to continue driving sales and earnings growth in the back half of the year,” Sandfort said.

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Saks, Party City adopt Scandit barcode scanning solution

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Saks Fifth Avenue and Party City are both utilizing the Scandit software-based barcode scanning and data capture platform for smartphones, tablets and wearable computing devices. Using Scandit’s Barcode Scanner SDK, the retailers are able to offer a variety of consumer- and employee-facing applications, including mobile shopping, clienteling, mobile point-of-sale, asset tracking and product information gathering.

These applications are driving customer engagement, increasing customer satisfaction and simplifying back-office processes. For example, with Scandit’s technology, retailers are letting consumers find out more information about a product and shop from any mobile device by scanning a product’s barcode, and salespeople are enhancing customer service by scanning barcodes with a smartphone or tablet to provide customers with product details including available inventory, other colors or sizes, etc.

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