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Golf brand veteran to head sales at Ray Cook Golf

BY CSA STAFF

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Ray Cook Golf, a leading golf manufacturer, has appointed John Holst as director of sales. In this role, Holst will oversee sales strategy and partner programs while building the Ray Cook brand.

He will also be charged with building the company’s other brands, including Solus Golf, under parent company TGIB Marketing Inc.

“We are excited to welcome John to our senior team,” said founder and CEO Thomas Rath. “With more than 20 years of success and experience with some of the most well-known brands in golf, he has a demonstrated track record and great leadership. He will be a strong partner as we continue to execute on our next phase of growth offering all categories of products to our customers with a focus on the recreational golfer.”

Prior to joining Ray Cook, John served as territory manager and eastern regional sales manager at Wilson Golf, where he led a team of account managers and sales reps responsible for client retention and sales.

“I’m excited about working with such a great team and to continue to grow the Ray Cook brand,” said Holst. “It’s my goal to ensure that Ray Cook remains on course to offer the best products and pricing for our customers.”

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Shopko brings big city deals to rural areas with hometown format

BY CSA STAFF

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Shopko plans to open five new Shopko Hometown stores in Afton, Wyo., St. Peter, Minn., and Winneconne, Ellsworth and Tomahawk, Wis., in late fall.

The Shopko Hometown retail format, developed to augment Shopko’s larger store model and focused on serving the needs of smaller rural communities, combines retail health services with a broad offering of strong national brands and high-value private label brands of apparel, home furnishings, toys, consumer electronics, seasonal items, everyday consumables and lawn and garden products.

"We’re excited to bring Shopko Hometown to these great communities," said interim CEO and COO Mike Bettiga. "We understand that consumers in smaller towns are looking for the same variety of high quality goods and trend right merchandise that can be found in larger cities. Customers of our Hometown stores tell us they appreciate the vastly improved shopping experience and access to a broad, differentiated selection of merchandise, including products and brands previously not available in their community."

By year end, these five stores will be part of the more than 180 Shopko Hometown stores, making Shopko one of the nation’s largest retailers serving smaller communities.

Founded in 1962 and headquartered in Green Bay, Wis., Shopko operates more than 330 stores in 21 states throughout the Midwest, Mountain, North Central and Pacific Northwest regions. Retail formats include 134 Shopko stores in small to mid-size cities, 176 Shopko Hometown locations in smaller communities, 5 Shopko Express Rx stores and 17 Shopko Pharmacy locations.

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Dip in Lord & Taylor same store sales not enough to keep HBC’s Q1 in the cold

BY CSA STAFF

TORONTO — A same-store sales decline at Lord & Taylor was not enough to keep Hudson’s Bay Company’s first quarter results for the period ended May 4 in the cold, thanks to strong same-store sales growth at Hudson’s Bay.

The company’s retail sales were $884 million for quarter, a 4% increase from $848 million for the first quarter a year ago. Consolidated same-store sales grew 4% in the first quarter. Hudson’s Bay same-store sales grew nearly 8%, and were partially offset by a same-store sales decline of 1.4% at Lord & Taylor.

"We are pleased with our first quarter performance," stated HBC governor and CEO Richard Baker. "Our strong sales growth can be attributed to several factors, including improvements in store productivity, increased e-commerce sales and our partnership with Topshop/Topman. These strategic initiatives drove gains at Hudson’s Bay, which continues to outperform its competitors. At Lord & Taylor, our sales performance was impacted by unfavorable year over year weather patterns."

Sales at Hudson’s Bay were driven by strong performance of men’s apparel, ladies’ shoes, cosmetics, handbags, accessories and certain home categories, the continued growth of e-commerce sales and the company’s five Topshop/Topman stores.

Meanwhile, sales at Lord & Taylor were impacted by lower customer traffic due to unfavorable weather trends compared to the first quarter of 2012, with strength in men’s apparel, handbags, accessories and cosmetics offset by underperformance of ladies’ apparel and shoes. Reflecting the company’s strategic focus on growing its e-commerce channel, online sales contributed strongly to sales growth in the quarter, rising 33% to $31 million.

The company’s gross profit was $356 million for the quarter compared to $341 million for the first quarter a year ago. Gross profit increased primarily thanks to sales growth at Hudson’s Bay.

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