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GNC ups share repurchase authorization to $500 million

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Pittsburgh — GNC Holdings, Inc.’s board of directors has authorized a multi-year program to repurchase up to an aggregate $500 million of the company’s Class A common stock. The authorization is effective immediately and replaces GNC’s previous authorization, which had approximately $250 million remaining.

The repurchases are expected to take place over the next 24 months.

"Today’s announcement reflects our confidence in the business and its ability to continue to deliver strong free cash flow," said Mike Hines, chairman of GNC. "We remain committed to our capital allocation strategy, which is designed to both support growth and to return capital to shareholders. Increasing our share repurchase program is a very important component of this.”

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More executive changes at Belk

BY CSA STAFF

Jan Clevenger has been named EVP and general merchandising manager of men’s, home and kids, reporting to newly named president and chief merchandising officer David Zant.

Clevenger has served as chair of the Belk Western Division based in Birmingham, Alabama, since March 2008. She began her retail career with Macy’s in 1984 in store management before becoming a buyer for men’s and center core.

Clevenger joined Belk in 2000 as a division merchandise manager for accessories in the Belk Southern Division. In 2002, she was named division merchandise manager of men’s sportswear and was promoted to VP and division merchandise manager in 2003. In 2006, she was appointed to SVP and director of stores for the Belk Northern Division based in Raleigh, North Carolina.

While in Birmingham, Clevenger has held leadership roles in a number of community and professional organizations, including service on the boards of directors of the Alabama Retail Association and the YWCA of Central Alabama, the Chairman’s Circle of the Birmingham Business Alliance and on the Executive Advisory Board of the Junior League of Birmingham. Clevenger is a graduate of the University of Memphis in Memphis, Tennessee.

David Luoma has been named chair of the Belk Western Division, succeeding Clevenger and reporting to John R. Belk, president and COO.

Luoma joined Belk in 2011 as SVP and director of stores for the Belk Southern Division based in Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to joining Belk, David was a SVP and director of stores for Macy’s and May Department Stores in upstate New York and western Massachusetts. He also served as district VP and director of stores for Macy’s where he had responsibility for 10 stores in the New England Central Region. Prior to joining Macy’s, Luoma held a number of store management positions with Filenes in Boston, Massachusetts, including general manager of its stores in Hyannis, Massachusetts, Albany, New York, and Cambridge, Massachusetts, divisional VP and general manager of its Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, store, and VP and GM of its Braintree, Massachusetts, store. Luoma’s community service while in Atlanta includes serving on the board of directors of Trees Atlanta. He is a graduate of California State University in Sacramento with a bachelor’s degree in marketing.

“We’re pleased to announce the promotions of Jan Clevenger and David Luoma,” said Tim Belk, chairman and CEO. “Jan and David are valued members of our executive team, and each of them brings a wealth of talent and experience to their new positions. We wish them both continued success in their careers at Belk.”

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Brandlive lands New Balance as latest client

BY CSA STAFF

Real-time broadcasting and commerce company Brandlive announced that it would be partnering with New Balance for a four-day campaign to debut additions to the shoe company’s 880 line.

Through Aug. 14, Brandlive will introduce retailers and New Balance to the sneakers, and New Balance will use the platform to train field representatives and brief them on the new line of shoes.

“Brandlive’s online video and social platform gives our omnichannel marketing a powerful and consistent means of visually connecting with fans and customers, bridging the gap between in-store and online,” New Balance spokesperson Tom Taylor said. “I can’t think of a better way for us to tell the fantastic story of the new 880.”

On Aug. 14 at 7 p.m. EDT, New Balance product experts will debut the new shoes in a broadcast sent to 50 U.S. sporting goods and running stores, using Brandlive to broadcast and aggregate social feeds, chat and e-commerce.

“We’re extremely excited to see the way New Balance is using our platform to combine both in-store and online conversations into a single engaging event,” said Brandlive CEO Fritz Brumder said. “We’ve been privileged to work with a who’s-who of brands to help each better connect with customers online, driving both engagement and sales conversions, but New Balance is adding a unique live retail component to leverage the best of both in-store and online.”

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