OPERATIONS

Home Depot names new CEO: Craig Menear to succeed Frank Blake

BY Marianne Wilson

Atlanta — The Home Depot on Thursday named Craig Menear, president of the chain’s U.S. retail business, as CEO and president, effective Nov. 1. Menear succeeds chairman and CEO Frank Blake. Blake, who has held the top spot since 2007, will remain chairman.

Menear, who was also elected to the company’s board of directors, effectively immediately, assumed his current position in February 2014. He is a 34-year retail veteran, and has been a key leader in the company’s success, the retailer said.

In addition to his role as chief merchant, Menear has overseen the company’s supply chain efforts, its rapidly growing online and private brand businesses and the company’s marketing and global sourcing.

Prior to joining the company in 1997, Menear held various merchandising positions within the retail industry with companies such as Ikea, Builders Emporium, Grace Home Centers and Montgomery Ward, as well as operating an independent retail business. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State University’s Eli Broad College of Business.

"Craig has taken on increasing leadership responsibility over the last several years and has excelled in all his roles," said Blake. "As a long-time Home Depot veteran, Craig lives our values and embodies our culture. He’ll do an outstanding job leading our company in the years ahead."

Blake has been chairman and CEO of The Home Depot since 2007.

"On behalf of the board, I want to thank Frank for the job he has done over the last seven years," said Greg Brenneman, the board’s lead director. "Among his many accomplishments, Frank has built a world-class leadership team. We are fortunate to have a leader of Craig’s capabilities as our new CEO."

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News

UPS confirms malware breach at 51 stores

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — UPS Stores, a subsidiary of United Parcel Service, said that a security breach may have led to the theft of customer credit and debit data at 51 UPS stores in the United States.

In a statement, the company said that customers who had used their debit or credit cards at affected locations (which are listed on the UPS site) from Jan. 20 to Aug. 11 may have been exposed to the malware. However, the company noted, exposure began after March 26 in most cases.

The malware was eliminated as of Aug. 11, UPS said.

“I understand this type of incident can be disruptive and cause frustration. I apologize for any anxiety this may have caused our customers. At The UPS Store, the trust of our customers is of utmost importance,” stated Tim Davis, president of The UPS Store, in a statement.

David said that as soon as the company became aware of the potential malware intrusion, it deployed extensive resources to quickly address and eliminate the problem.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Nielsen study: Retailers ramp up back-to-school ad spend

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — A new Nielsen survey found that nearly 20% of consumers have already started their back-to-school shopping, and 75% plan to start within the next few weeks.

More parents are starting their shopping earlier than in the past, as 18% of survey respondents had already started their back to school shopping as compared to 7% at the same time last year. On the flip side, 15% are choosing to wait longer, while 50% do not plan to do any back to school shopping this year.

No surprise, the biggest summer advertising push typically comes from retailers, such as Target, J.C. Penney and Office Depot, which made up 95% of last year’s back-to-school advertising. In a survey to BTS advertisers, Nielsen found that 42% of respondents plan to spend as much as they did in 2013; 18% will spend less and 26% will spend more.

The survey also found that shoppers are far more likely to use social media to discuss their purchases than they were last year. 28% said they would use Facebook versus 9% in 2013, 16% would use Google + versus 4% last year and 15% would use Twitter versus 3% last year.

“There is a strong relationship between advertising and consumer behavior, particularly when it concerns back-to-school shopping,” said James Russo senior VP, Global Consumer Insights, Nielsen. “Advertisers have been broadcasting back to school content earlier and consumers are responding in kind. Advertisements are extremely influential, so it is salient for retailers and manufacturers to be strategic to ensure back to school marketing success.”

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