Finish Line’s Q1 profit tops Street; COO to retire
Indianapolis – The Finish Line’s first-quarter net income plunged 59% amid start-up costs related to its deal to open branded in-store shops in Macy’s. But the retailer still beat Wall Street expectations. In other news, the company announced a new role for retiring president and COO, Steve Schneider.
The Finish Line earned $5.1 million for the period ended June 1, down from $12.3 million a year ago. Revenue rose 10% to $351.1 million, also beating expectations. Same-store sales were up 2.4%.
“We are pleased with the start to fiscal 2014 as improving trends in our Finish Line running business combined with continued strength in basketball and disciplined expense management drove our results,” said chairman and CEO Glenn Lyon. “Strategically, the quarter was marked by significant progress on our key growth initiatives, including the well-received launch of our Macy’s business in stores and online and the expansion of the Running Specialty Group footprint with the acquisition of some very productive doors.”
The company said that current president and COO Schneider will transition to the role of EVP of strategic initiatives effective July 1, 2013.
“When Steve first approached me about his long-term plan toward retirement after almost 35 years in specialty retail, including 24 years at Finish Line, we discussed how to continue to capitalize on his strengths and the vital role he holds with our leadership team,” Lyon said. “Steve’s incredible business acumen, his strong operational analysis and his keen vision for planning will be key to implementing Finish Line’s long-term strategic growth plan.”
Nestlé expands presence in Ohio with tech center
SOLON, Ohio — Nestlé plans on investing $53 million in a new product technology center, which will expand the company’s existing R&D facility in Solon, Ohio.
The center will be dedicated to frozen and chilled foods research, and will serve Nestlé’s businesses worldwide. Located on 18 acres in a park-like setting off of Solon’s Cannon Road, the glass-faced facility will house offices and labs for approximately 100 scientific, professional and technical staff. The 144,000-sq.-ft. building also will include a pilot plant where new recipes and the latest technologies will be tested and evaluated. Nestlé expects the center to be operational in late 2014.
"We are pleased that the R&D effort first established in Solon in 2001 to serve our regional needs has matured into a global product technology center," said Johannes Baensch, Nestlé’s global head of research and development. "We currently operate 11 product technology centers around the world. PTC Solon will become the 12th of these important centers of excellence for Nestlé. Here we will establish a critical mass of technology expertise and product knowledge for our global Nestlé frozen and chilled foods business."
The Solon PTC will serve Nestlé business units worldwide, and will support domestic brands, which include Stouffer’s and Lean Cuisine prepared meals and snacks, Hot Pockets and Lean Pockets brand sandwiches, Buitoni refrigerated pastas and sauces; Nestlé Toll House refrigerated (and in-test, frozen) cookie dough, as well as the DiGiorno, California Pizza Kitchen, Tombstone and Jack’s brands of frozen pizza.
Sean Westcott will serve as the PTC’s director. Westcott, a veteran Nestlé employee, has lead product innovation, operations and quality control teams. He replaces former head Roberto Reniero, who with his team, gained rezoning approval from the Solon community in 2011, and designed the facility to comply with LEED standards. In March, Reniero completed his assignment in the U.S. and was named head of PTC Lisieux in France.
"We are committed to what we do at PTC Solon because this is the place where we combine cutting-edge innovation with deep awareness of consumer needs and preferences," Westcott said. "Our chefs, food scientists, nutritionists and operations experts work side-by-side with the various Nestlé businesses we support to create foods that are more delicious, wholesome and satisfying. We’re extremely grateful for the support we’ve received from Mayor Susan Drucker and the City of Solon, from Gov. Kasich and JobsOhio, and particularly from the community itself, which demonstrated its support with an 85 percent approval when we requested rezoning."
The PTC will join other major Nestlé facilities in Solon, including Nestlé Prepared Foods Company, first established there in 1968. Led today by president and CEO Frank Higgins, the business employs more than 1,900 in its offices and production facility. In April 2012, the company moved its Hot Pockets and Lean Pockets brands from Denver to Solon.
Mobile in-store navigation platform developer adds Google muscle to board
SAINT LOUIS — Aisle411, developer of a mobile in-store navigation platform for retail stores, has bolstered its advisory board with some Google muscle. Don Dodge’s appointment helps to round out the company’s executive management team.
"Don has a history of picking first-to-market leading technology platforms that become game changing market leaders. We are excited to welcome Don Dodge to Aisle411’s team of experts in the explosive growth market of indoor location," said CEO Nathan Pettyjohn. "Don’s expertise and experience with key technology and strategic partners will allow Aisle411 to continue to deliver the best possible solutions to our global leading retail partners."
Don Dodge is a developer advocate at Google and helps developers build new applications on Google platforms and technologies. Prior to joining Google, he was a startup evangelist at Microsoft. Dodge is also a veteran of five startups, including Forte Software, AltaVista, Napster, Bowstreet and Groove Networks. Recently, he served as an adviser and investor in WifiSLAM, an indoor positioning technology company that was acquired by Apple in 2013.
"Indoor location will be a huge market, bigger than maps or GPS. Why? Because we spend most of our time indoors, working, shopping, eating, at the mall, at the office, on campus, etc.," said Dodge. "Aisle411 guides users to products and services, where consumers can receive relevant ads and offers. Delivering the right message, at the right place, at the right time can dramatically increase revenue."
Aisle411’s indoor location services platform currently powers more than 12,000 retail stores with a comprehensive in-store search and navigation solution for consumers via mobile technologies with support for iOS and Android devices.