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Five Below bids adieu to COO, seeks president

BY Dan Berthiaume

Philadelphia – David Johnston, COO of Five Below, Inc., will leave his position at the company effective Aug. 31. In the wake of his departure, the company is seeking a president who will report directly to co-founder and CEO Thomas Vellios.

"We appreciate David’s contributions over the past year and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” said Vellios. “As we execute our store growth plans and expand our presence in new and existing markets, we will continue to invest in talent across our organization by filling new roles and expanding the scope of certain roles. With where we are in our growth trajectory, we believe creating a dedicated president position, reporting to me, is the right step for the organization. We are pleased to announce that we have initiated a search for a seasoned retail executive to fill this important role."

Johnston joined Five Below in June 2012 after serving as CFO of Wawa Inc. for seven years. He will receive half of his annual salary of $400,000 and 43,250 stock options will vest and become exercisable at the time of his departure. He will not be able to work for another fixed price or party goods retailer for one year, with an SEC filing by Five Below listing Dollar Tree and Party City as examples.

Five Below, which went public around the time Johnston joined the company, operates 258 stores and plans to open 60 new stores by the end of the year. Neither Johnston nor Five Below has publicly indicated the reason for Johnston’s departure.

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Kohl’s hit with class-action suit

BY Dan Berthiaume

Menomonee Falls, Wis. – Law firm Levi & Korsinsky has commenced a class-action lawsuit against Kohl’s Corporation in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The suit has been filed on behalf of investors who purchased Kohl’s commons stock during the period between February 26, 2009 and September 13, 2011.

On August 4, 2011, Kohl’s announced that certain errors were discovered in its accounting for its leases. Following this statement, the price of Kohl’s common stock declined nearly 8%. The company filed a Form 8-K reporting that, as a result of these accounting errors, the financial statements included in 2010 Form 10-K and first quarter 2011 Form 10-Q could no longer be relied upon. On this news, Kohl’s stock dropped another 2.5% on September 8, 2011.

The suit alleges that in the course of these events, Kohl’s understated its debt and leverage ratios, overstated its reported equity, issued false and misleading financial statements and violated accounting standards. Shareholders of Kohl’s have until September 23, 2013 to seek appointment as lead plaintiff.

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PriceSmart sales skyrocket in July

BY Dan Berthiaume

San Diego – PriceSmart reported substantial increases in both net warehouse club sales and same-store warehouse club sales during July of this year as compared to July of last year. For the month of July 2013, net warehouse club sales increased 11.9% to $188.5 million, from $168.5 million in July a year earlier. There were 31 warehouse clubs in operation at the end of July 2013 and 29 warehouse clubs in operation at the end of July 2012.

For the four weeks ended July 28, 2013, comparable warehouse sales for the 29 warehouse clubs open at least 13 1/2 full months increased 8.9%, compared to the same four-week period last year.

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