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Incoming Class

BY Marianne Wilson

The new year will see a changing of the guard in the chief executive’s office of several big retailers. Here are four to watch:

Costco
The torch has been passed at Costco Wholesale Corp., with president and COO Craig Jelinek stepping into the very big shoes of the company’s longtime chief executive and co-founder Jim Sinegal (effective January 1, 2012).

Jelinek, 59, started at Costco in 1984 as a store manager and worked his way up, serving in major roles throughout Costco’s business operations and merchandising activities. In succeeding Sinegal, he replaces one of retailing’s most admired, innovative and successful executives. Most industry analysts expect a smooth transition. Jelinek and Sinegal have worked closely together and, insiders say, share similar values when it comes to running the business.

Although Sinegal, 76, has retired from the top spot, he will serve as an adviser through January 2013 and assist Jelinek during the transition. He also will seek re-election to Costco’s board in January.

American Eagle Outfitters
Levi Strauss & Co. veteran Robert Hanson tries on a new role when he becomes CEO of American Eagle Outfitters Inc. on Jan. 30. He replaces Jim O’Donnell, who is retiring after leading the teen apparel chain since 2002.

Hanson, 48, spent 23 years at Levi’s, most recently as global president of the Levi’s brand. Prior to that, he held a variety of leadership roles in the company’s merchandising, product development, multi-channel, marketing and creative teams.

Hanson’s appointment marked the end of a nearly nine-month search. In making the announcement, American Eagle Outfitters chairman noted that the incoming CEO. "After an extensive search, we believe Robert is the ideal person to build on AEO’s strengths, maximize our portfolio of brands across North America and propel our brands into new markets across the world,” said Jay Schottenstein, chairman, American Eagle Outfitters.

Giant Eagle
Although Giant Eagle is starting the new year with new leadership for the first time in over 30 years, it is keeping things in the family. The Pittsburgh-based food and fuel retailer tapped Laura Shapira Karet, 42, to succeed her father, David Shapira, as CEO. Shapira has worked for the privately-held, family-owned company for 41 of its 80 year-history, and served as CEO since 1980.

Karet, whose appointment is effective Jan.9, joined Giant Eagle in 2000 as VP marketing. She most recently served as senior executive VP and chief strategy officer, responsible for the development and management of the chain’s long-term business plan and setting direction for its corporate priorities and innovations.

Prior to Giant Eagle, Karet held marketing executive positions at Sara Lee, and brand management roles at Proctor & Gamble.

Crate and Barrel
Home-furnishings retailer Crate and Barrel is in for a change of leadership this spring when Sascha Bopp, who currently serves as chief operating officer, assumes the role of CEO.

Bopp, 42, will succeed longtime Crate and Barrel veteran Barbara Turf, who joined the Northbrook, Ill.-based company as a part-time salesperson in 1968, and took over merchandising in 1975. She worked closely with Crate and Barrel founder Gordon Segal, and was appointed CEO when he retired in 2008.

Prior to joining Crate and Barrel in 2009, Bopp was managing director and chief financial officer of Primondo GmbH, a multichannel retailer in Germany, and also served as also served as CEO of Primondo’s Specialty Group division. (Crate & Barrel is owned by Otto Group, a privately held German retailer.)

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comScore: Holiday online sales already up 14%

BY Marianne Wilson

Reston, Va. — For the first 20 days of November, comScore reported that online spending rose 14% to $9.7 billion. The company forecast that online sales for the full November through December period would increase 15% to a total of $37.6 billion.

"The 2011 online holiday shopping season has shown strength in the early going with a year-over-year growth rate of 14%," said comScore chairman, Gian Fulgoni. "With the persistent backdrop of macroeconomic uncertainty and continued high unemployment, consumers appear to be increasingly favoring the online benefits of convenience and lower prices. Based on the expectation that these positive spending trends will continue for the season, this year promises to be a Merry Christmas indeed for online retailers."

The official comScore 2011 holiday season forecast is that online retail spending for the November – December period will reach $37.6 billion, representing a 15% gain versus year ago. This represents an improvement compared to last season’s 12% increase.

"Due to the strength leading up to and during the holiday season-to-date, comScore’s statistical models are forecasting that U.S. retail e-commerce spending will grow at a rate of 15 percent versus last year," added Fulgoni. "These projected growth rates reflect the significant channel shift we’re witnessing from offline retail as an increasing number of consumers rely on the online channel for initial browsing, price comparisons and completing transactions. With this continued momentum, comScore anticipates nearly $38 billion in online consumer spending during the November and December time period."

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Brookshire names new board member

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — The Brookshire Grocery Co. announced that Trent Brookshire, SVP/DMM was elected to the company’s board. He is a fourth generation member of the company’s founding family.

His great-grandfather, Wood T. Brookshire, founded the company in 1928, which today operates 151 stores in three southern states. Brookshire grew up in the grocery business and after graduating from Southern Methodist University, he gained additional experience with a major supermarket chain based in Florida. Brookshire rejoined BGC as a member of the management training program and later served BGC stores as an assistant store manager, store director and district manager.

As a member of the board of directors, Brookshire will be involved in developing strategic plans for the overall direction of the company. In his current position as SVP/DMM he is responsible for all aspects of operations in four districts composed of stores in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas.

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