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Hot Topic CFO to resign

BY Staff Writer

City of Industry, Calif. — Hot Topic announced that its chief financial officer, Jim McGinty, has resigned, effective March 29. The company said that George Wehlitz, VP finance will serve as interim CFO.

McGinty had worked for Hot Topic Inc. for the past 12 years. His resignation is effective March 29.

Wehlitz became VP finance at Hot Topic in 2008. He previously served as CFO at motorcycle clothing and accessories company Cycle Gear Inc.

Before joining Cycle Gear, Wehlitz worked at Hot Topic from February 2002 through November 2005 serving as VP controller in 2002 and then as VP finance from August 2003 to November 2005.

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CPG industry expects highest growth in club channel

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK — Expect to see more consumer package goods on warehouse club shelves, as a new survey reveals this to be a high growth area for CPG companies.

According to new research from Deloitte, consumer products executives expect their highest growth to come from the warehouse club channel compared with any other retail sales channel over the next three years, including mass merchandise, grocery, and e-commerce.

Nine out of 10 (89%) of consumer package goods (CPG) executives Deloitte surveyed expect their company’s sales through the warehouse club channel to increase during that time. This channel is outpacing grocery in CPG companies’ focus, as less than half (49%) expect grocery sales to increase during that three-year period, while one in six (18%) expect sales in the grocery channel to decline.

Most CPG and retail executives surveyed expect warehouse clubs to increase the number of food, household goods, and personal care CPG SKUs (79%), expand their geographic presence (75%) and increase space allocated to health and wellness products (75%) in the next three years.

"Consumer products companies are responding to the increased sales and branding opportunities in the warehouse club channel, particularly in expanding segments traditionally dominated by grocery and mass merchandise channels," said Pat Conroy, vice chairman and consumer products leader, Deloitte LLP. "Club retailers have been remodeling existing stores, including allocating more space for food – particularly organic, healthy and fresh offerings – and personal care products. These retailers also continue to provide a variety of services and benefits to members – whether it is for personal consumption or for the member’s business."

Industry executives claim that the reason for the increased availability of CPG products at warehouse clubs is due to the clubs’ broader appeal and more frequent visits by consumers. Most of the CPG executive respondents believe that warehouse club members are making more trips (77%), spending more at club stores (78%), and are finding these stores more appealing than just three years ago (63%).

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Walmart announces $450 million expansion in Canada

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Walmart on Tuesday updated its plans for its Canadian division, saying that it plans to complete at least 37 supercenter projects in the country during the company’s next fiscal year (February 1, 2013 to January 31, 2014). The announcement comes a couple of months before Target Corp.’s spring launch of its stores in Canada.

Walmart also announced it will expand its distribution network to support its ongoing Canadian store growth and expansion plans. The distribution center projects, new store construction and expansion, remodeling or relocation of existing stores represents an investment of more than $450 million in the Canadian economy. The plans are expected to generate more than 7,000 store, trade and construction jobs.

“Our associates across the country have done an incredible job this past year serving our customers and opening a record number of new stores and supercentres,” said Shelley Broader, president and CEO of Walmart Canada. “This year, we are ramping up our focus on lowering prices and helping customers lower their cost of living, as we continue to bring our supercentre format to more Canadians.”

Full grocery sections will be added to more locations across Canada.

“We’re truly delighted to be adding a full grocery section to more locations across the country, including the opening of our first supercentres in the Maritimes,” said Broader. “We look forward to helping our customers coast-to-coast save money on groceries as well as their general merchandise purchases.”

As of January 31, 2013, Walmart Canada will have 379 stores, including 209 supercentres. The new round of expansion is expected to bring the company’s store count to 388 by the end of January 2014.

The retailer will grand open nine supercenters this Friday, Jan. 25. The final two stores included with the 73 store projects planned for the current fiscal year will grand open on Jan. 31.

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