OPERATIONS

Former Supervalu, Target exec dies

BY CSA STAFF

Minneapolis Former Target and Supervalu executive Paul Singer died on Friday after fighting brain cancer for 19 months. He was 56.

The businessman was chief information officer at Supervalu from July 2006 until last year. A company spokesperson then cited Singer’s health for his departure.

Singer previously was CIO at Target Corp. from 2000 to 2005.

Singer is survived by his wife and six children.

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OPERATIONS

Syms names financial chief

BY CSA STAFF

Secaucus, N.J. Off-price retailer Syms Corp., which operates under both the Syms and Filene’s Basement banners, announced Wednesday it has named Seth Udasin as senior VP, chief financial and administrative officer for the company.

Udasin, who was formerly VP and CFO for The Children’s Place, replaces Philip Piscopo who left the company in March; Udasin will report to Syms chairman and CEO Marcy Syms.

Syms has made several strategic hires in recent months, including Joel Feigenbaum as chief integration officer to direct the ongoing merger of the Syms and Filene’s Basement brands, including the co-branded stores. In May, the company hired Jason Somerfield, a veteran of Burlington Coat Factory who helped reshape the brand’s image, as senior VP and general merchandising manager.

“This is an exciting time to be joining the company that recently acquired Filene’s Basement,” said Udasin. “Syms’ commitment to growth and to providing extraordinary value to its customers is especially powerful in the current economy. I am eager to help drive the operation toward even greater success, continuing to add real value for customers and shareholders.”

Syms Corp. currently operates a chain of 50 off-price apparel stores located predominantly on the east coast under the Syms and Filene’s Basement names.

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OPERATIONS

Tesco’s CEO-in-waiting to continue global expansion push

BY CSA STAFF

Deerfield, Ill. On Tuesday, British supermarket mogul Tesco PLC announced a successor to retiring CEO Sir Terry Leahy, and the naming of the incoming chief suggests that aggressive global expansion for the world’s third-largest retailer will continue.

According to a Wednesday report by the Wall Street Journal, when Tesco’s Europe and Asia leader Philip Clarke takes the reins from Leahy next March, Tesco will continue its global march, especially in emerging markets.

Leahy is credited with expanding Tesco’s international footprint from five countries to 13. Clarke’s role in the push was overseeing the retailer’s debuts in emerging markets such as China, Turkey and India. Also, under Clarke’s leadership, Tesco bought 36 hypermarkets in Korea in 2008 and announced plans to open wholesale outlets in India, the first of which rolls out this fiscal year, according to the WSJ report. Tesco is also supplying wholesale merchandise in India to Tata Group’s Star Bazaar supermarket.

Clarke’s primary challenge now is to build larger-scale businesses in China, the United States and India.

“The potential market in those countries can give growth for decades,” Christopher Hogbin, retail analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., told WSJ. “The primary focus is absolutely developing the businesses that they have, so they get scale and good returns in those markets.”

With Tesco’s struggles in the United States, where its Fresh & Easy chain has been stymied by the housing crisis, movement into this country could prove a major challenge for Clarke, who will be supported by a new management structure that creates regional chief executives throughout the world. Retail and logistics director David Potts will take over as the first CEO of the Asian business and commercial director Richard Brasher will become CEO of the United Kingdom and Ireland. Tim Mason, president of Fresh & Easy in the United States, will continue to run U.S. operations and add duties as deputy CEO of Tesco.

All three were considered contenders to succeed Leahy, according to the report.

The new structure, Clarke said, “recognizes the shift to international and growth in Asia.”

Tesco’s international sales are expected to double in the next five years, Natalie Berg, research director at London-based consultancy Planet Retail, told WSJ. “Tesco has been the most successful foreign retailer expanding overseas because it has been much more flexible in adapting its store formats,” she said.

Clarke’s success will also depend on continued strong performance in the United Kingdom, where the retailer is entering the services sector with Tesco Bank and attempting to up its share in nonfood products.

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