Dollar Tree names new CEO

BY Marianne Wilson

There's been a changing of the guard at Dollar Tree as the man who grew the chain into a $22 billion retail powerhouse moves on to a new role.

The discounter has appointed Gary Philbin, enterprise president, as CEO, effective immediately. He succeeds Bob Sasser, who will become executive chairman of Dollar Tree's board.

Philbin, 60, joined Dollar Tree in 2001 as senior VP of stores, and was promoted to COO in 2007. He assumed the role of president and COO of Family Dollar upon its acquisition by Dollar Tree. In January 2017, Philbin was promoted to enterprise president with responsibilities for both Dollar Tree and Family Dollar banners.

"Bob (Sasser) has led Dollar Tree to industry-leading returns for shareholders and success for all of our stakeholders,” stated Philbin. “Our retail business model can operate successfully in tough times and good times, as we have demonstrated under Bob’s leadership as CEO.”

Sasser, 65, oversaw Dollar Tree's $9.1 billion acquisition of Family Dollar in 2015. He joined Dollar Tree in 1999 as COO. He was promoted to president and COO in 2001, and to president and CEO in 2004.

During Sasser’s tenure, Dollar Tree grew from a company with fewer than 1,200 stores in 33 states; four distribution centers; and less than $1 billion in annual sales to a company with more than 14,500 retail stores; and an international supply chain with 24 distribution centers across North America. For 2017, revenues are projected to exceed $22 billion. The company completed six acquisitions during Sasser’s tenure.

"Working with our board of directors, I have been planning leadership succession for some time and we are confident this will be a seamless transition, both inside and outside of the company," Philbin stated. "Our board of directors and leadership team have complete confidence in Gary’s ability to lead Dollar Tree through its next phases of growth.”

Dollar Tree operates stores under the brands of Dollar Tree, Family Dollar and Dollar Tree Canada.


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Fair Scheduling Laws: Implications for retail, and navigating the changes

BY Mike Zorn

Oregon passed Senate Bill 828, known as the “Fair Work Week” law, last month. This law requires foodservice, retail and hospitality employers to give hourly workers reliable work week schedules upon hire, maintain a voluntary list of standby employees to address unanticipated customer needs or unexpected employee absences, and provide their workers with advance notice of schedule changes.

Within these three industries, the law will specifically affect employers with 500 or more employees worldwide. With various sections of the law going into effect over a two-year span from 2018 to 2020, many companies that fit this bill are left wondering: “What are the specific requirements of this law?” and “What are its implications for me?”

To answer these questions, let’s first break down the law’s requirements:

Specific Requirements

In its 18 sections, Senate Bill 828 lays out several fair scheduling directives for companies that meet the above requirements, but here’s a more digestible snapshot:

A good faith estimate of work schedule: An employer must provide a new employee with a written, good faith estimate of the employee’s work schedule at the time of hire that not only states the median number of hours, but also explains the voluntary standby list and on-call scheduling.

A voluntary standby list: An employer can maintain a list of employees whom the employer can end requests to work additional hours that the employee can then accept or decline.

Advance notice of the work schedule for the week: An employer must provide an employee with a work schedule at least one week before the first day of the work week starting July 2018, and at least two weeks before starting July 2020.

Rest between work shifts: An employer has to ensure a proper amount of non-working time for the employees, per the specifics of the law.

Employee’s right to input into work schedule: At any time, the employee may identify limitations or changes in their availability. Employers are able to request verification and are under no obligation to grant an employee's request.

Compensation for work schedule changes: Finally, depending on the situation, a worker may collect compensation for work schedule changes that affect their regular work week hours.


Ultimately, these requirements mean affected employers will now require a better sense of foot traffic and advance in-store demand analysis. Employers will need to analyze historical consumer behavior and employee availability at least two to three weeks in advance of the first day of the work week. This kind of early review means that employers will need to keep better track of consumer demand and conduct more intelligent, comprehensive analysis to ensure well-run work schedules to which employees can confidently adhere.

Employers can expect increased pressure to be on their toes and quickly respond to industry trends, which will hopefully mean more efficient operations and increased innovation.

How to Navigate Changes

For many, this will be uncharted territory and will require technology as a compass. Many of the law’s mandates require employers to make more streamlined, lean changes within their operations, so employing digital scheduling platforms and channels of communication will be vital for not only their ability to perform efficient analysis, but also stay compliant. Here are three ways tech will be necessary when implementing this law:

Efficiency: To conduct in-depth analysis of historical consumer demand and employee availability data before creating advance work schedules, employers will require a level of automation through a digital workplace platform. Automated analyses will take the guesswork and manual labor out of creating comprehensive and historically-based schedules for employees. This system will also need to be a place where employees and employers can post shift changes, swaps and covers. This will provide a quick and efficient way to process these requests, as well as file records of these interactions correctly per the law’s requirements.

Standby list: The Fair Work Week law requires employers to maintain a list of standby, voluntary employees from which to pull when customer demand is higher than expected. Without the technology needed to organize and keep track of employees, employers could face huge headaches in the form of delays, miscommunication and unfulfilled consumer demand – risking compliance in the process

Faster communication: With sections calling for consumer input in their schedule, a standby list and the ability to request schedule changes, compliance with this law necessitates an open channel of communication in real-time. Employers and employees should be able to communicate any changes to the schedule or in the customer needs with each other as they are happening. A clear way of communicating will help employers avoid last-minute mishaps and ensure that employees are aware of any changes as they occur.

With so many changes resulting from this law, employers will need to stay on top of compliance requirements. Through automation and clear communication, compliance of the law’s various mandates should be easily accomplished to create a better-functioning workforce. The underlying principles of laws like the Fair Work Week law in Oregon serve to empower hourly workers whose livelihoods are currently being disrupted due to last-minute schedule changes and miscommunications. Giving employees the ability to feel more in control of their work weeks ultimately leads to a more engaged workforce with increased overall satisfaction and productivity.

Mike Zorn is the VP of workplace strategy at WorkJam, a digital workplace platform for the service industry. He has more than 30 years of HR-related experience in the retail industry, and previously served as the senior VP of associate and labor relations at Macy’s Inc. He is also chair of the National Retail Federation's sub-committee on employment and human resources.


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Trending Stores: Tesco Extra, Swansea, Wales


British supermarket giant Tesco puts a friendlier and more contemporary spin on its hypermarket format at its revamped store in Swansea, Wales.

The new format, developed by Swedish design firm Blink in collaboration with Tesco’s in-house team and corporate identity group Wolff Olins, offers innovative digital services, a more personal approach and simplified shopping for different needs. The remodeled store, which opened in June, is delivering a significantly higher profit, according to Blink.

Tesco’s stores are large — and that isn’t changing anytime soon.

But the new format is designed to take the interior from “big, bold and cold” to “big, bold and homely” (or simple and comfortable).

The 89,000-sq.-ft. store is still big and bold on the outside. Inside, it is still big, but the interior is marked by a more human scale, both in its architecture and tone of voice. There is a fresh market at the store center, designed to offer a “feast for the senses.” Signage, with many messages in English and Welsh, enhances the more personal feel. The design offers intuitive customer journeys that make different shopping trips more convenient. There is also a community center space is adjacent to the cafe.

The revamped store integrates such omnichannel solutions as click-and-collect, mobile self-scan, in-store interactive screens, and a more convenient shopping experience for customers buying takeout food.


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What will your company do with the tax-reform windfall?