C-SUITE

Destination Maternity CEO out; Q2 sales slide

BY Marianne Wilson

Destination Maternity is looking for a new chief executive.

The struggling maternity apparel retailer said that Anthony M. Romano is stepping down as president, CEO and board member as part of a mutual agreement, effective Sept. 7. Romano has served in the role since 2014, and, prior to that, was president and CEO of Charming Shoppes. His departure follows the recent termination of an agreement for Destination Maternity to be acquired by France's Orchestra-Prémaman.

Allen Weinstein, an independent director of Destination Maternity, will serve as interim CEO until a permanent replacement is found. Weinstein, a director of the company's board since January 2010, is currently executive chairman and a director of Villa, a privately owned footwear and apparel retailer

"Despite the investment of significant time, effort and resources into the proposed merger with Orchestra-Prémaman, it was ultimately not completed," said Romano. "Consequently, my fellow board members and I have reached a mutual decision that now would be a good time to make a change to allow for a fresh look at Destination Maternity.

Destination Maternity and Orchestra-Prémaman, a manufacturer and retailer of children's apparel and childcare products, entered into an agreement in December 2016. The deal was terminated in July, with the company citing, among other things, difficulties in satisfying French and U.S. regulators.

Destination Maternity has been struggling with sliding sales as online competition and decreased mall traffic impacted its revenues. On Wednesday, Destination Maternity reported net sales of $98.3 million for its second quarter, down from $106.5 million in the year-ago period. The decrease was attributed to the closure of underperforming stores, a 3.4% decline in comparable sales, and the exit of the company's relationship with Kohl's.

It reported a net loss of $2.8 million for the quarter, compared to a loss of $2.5 million in the year-ago quarter. On a per-share basis, losses, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, were 13 cents per share, compared to 14 cents last year.

The retailer incurred store closing, asset impairment and asset disposal expenses of $1.1 million in the quarter, compared to expenses of $0.4 million last year.

As of July 29, 2017 Destination Maternity operates 1,150 retail locations in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, including 507 stores, predominantly under the Motherhood Maternity, A Pea in the Pod and Destination Maternity banners, and 643 leased department locations. The company also sells merchandise on the Web through its websites.

In addition, Destination Maternity has international store franchise and product supply relationships in the Middle East, South Korea, Mexico, Israel and India. It has 210 international franchised locations, including 18 standalone stores operated under one of the Company's nameplates and 192 shop-in-shop locations.

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DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION

Largest U.S. hockey retailer launches store rebranding

BY Marianne Wilson

Pure Hockey is converting its various store banners to its namesake brand.

The company, which owns the Pure Hockey, Total Hockey, and HockeyGiant brands, will begin rebranding all of its retail stores as Pure Hockey. Pure Hockey acquired HockeyGiant in September 2015 and acquired Total Hockey in August 2016, giving the company a total of 53 retail locations across the United States, along with four e-commerce sites specializing in hockey, goalie, and lacrosse equipment.

"Converting our retail stores to Pure Hockey allows us to start standardizing the customer experience across all of our stores, and better leverage our national scale in areas including distribution, buying and allocation, and advertising to provide maximum value to our loyal customers," said David Nectow, president and co-owner of Pure Hockey. "We're working hard to make the transition from Total Hockey and HockeyGiant to Pure Hockey stores as seamless as possible for customers to minimize any disruption to the in-store experience."

Pure Hockey also announced a four-day "Grand Re-Opening" event, running from Thursday 9/14 through Sunday 9/17. The event will celebrate the start of the rebranding process and the launch of the new "Pure Rewards" loyalty program, and will also feature raffles, giveaways, and prizes across all retail locations.

Pure Hockey is headquartered outside of Boston, and was founded in 2002 by David Nectow and Sal Tiano through the purchase of one hockey retail store in Massachusetts. It has since expanded organically and through strategic acquisitions, and now operates four ecommerce sites and 54 stores in 18 states across the U.S.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

CVS Pharmacy to launch customized health-and-wellness vending machines

BY David Salazar

CVS Pharmacy is rolling out a convenient way for consumers on the go to easily buy necessities.

The drugstore chain on Thursday introduced automated vending machines that will be located in travel hubs and other places and contain such items as over-the-counter health products, better-for-you snacks and popular personal care products. The machines will also be used to showcase products from the company’s exclusive store brands while meeting customers at well-trafficked areas.

“Our new CVS Pharmacy vending machine program allows us to extend that convenience beyond our brick-and-mortar locations to offer customers on-the-go essentials in the locations where they often need them most, like airports, hotels and other transportation hubs," stated CVS Pharmacy senior VP front store business and chief merchant Judy Sansone

By the end of October, 25 CVS Pharmacy vending machines will pop up throughout New England and New York at such targeted areas as airports, including New York City’s LaGuardia Airport; public transit stations such as Boston’s South Station Bus Terminal; office parks and college campuses. Each vending machine will be customized by location and contain more than 70 products — many of which are sourced from CVS Pharmacy’s exclusive store brands, including CVS Health, Beauty 360, Gold Emblem and Gold Emblem abound.

In addition to the initial 25 machines, the retailer said it is considering more than 50 more across the country on college campuses, corporate offices, hotels and other transportation hubs.

"These new vending machines allow us to make our innovative CVS Brand products available to customers outside of our store locations for the very first time," CVS Health VP store brands and quality assurance Cia Tucci said. "The CVS Pharmacy vending machines will be located in places where we can bring our customers smart solutions and convenient access to the products they trust when they are on-the-go."

The vending machines will accept all major debit and credit cards and feature a 22-in. multi-touch screen, high-resolution images with product information and a QR code reader to allow for scanning of barcodes and promotional codes. They also will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, allowing those in wheelchairs to fully access the touchscreen and its functionality.

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