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J.C. Penney announces appointment of two more Apple veterans; swings to Q3 loss

BY Marianne Wilson

Plano, Texas — It’s official: Two more Apple Retail veterans are joining their former boss Ron Johnson at J.C. Penney Co. The news came as J.C. Penney reported a third-quarter net loss of $143 million and issued a tepid holiday forecast.

J.C. Penney named Michael W. Kramer, CFO of Apple Retail from 2000 to 2005, as COO. Kramer has been the president and CEO of Kellwood Co. since 2008, where he oversaw a portfolio of fashion brands. He also served as executive VP and CFO at Abercrombie & Fitch, from 2005 to 2008.

"Mike is an extremely talented executive, and I am thrilled to be working with him again," said J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson. "His long experience in senior operational and financial positions at leading retailers, as well as his most recent role as the CEO of a large, diversified wholesale company serving the department and specialty store industry, makes him uniquely well-suited for this role."

J.C. Penney also announced that Daniel Walker has been named chief talent officer. Walker was the chief talent officer at Apple from 2000 to 2004 and continued as a consultant until mid-2005. He was instrumental in recruiting Johnson to Apple to lead the retail effort.

Also on Monday, J.C. Penney reported a loss of $143 million for the quarter ended Oct. 29, compared with a profit of $44 million in the year-ago period. Sagging comps and shrinking margins led to the performance decline.

For the quarter, sales dropped 4.8% to $3.99 billion, reflecting the company’s exit from its catalog and catalog outlet businesses, which it sold off during the quarter.

As previously reported, same-store sales dipped 1.6%.

“The moderate customer continues to have limited discretionary spending capability, and that was apparent during the quarter,” said Myron E. (Mike) Ullman III, executive chairman.

The department store retailer now expects holiday sales to be lackluster – with same-store sales flat to up slightly during the holiday quarter.

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Walmart firms commitment to Asia Pacific economies

BY CSA STAFF

HONOLULU — Walmart is firming its commitment to Asia Pacific economies, the company announced at the annual Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit in Honolulu, Hawaii, Nov. 11 to 14.

Speaking at the event, Walmart Asia CEO Scott Pricesaid, "Walmart is a strong contributor globally to the communities in which we operate and this is especially true in APEC economies. These include great examples in the United States, China , Japan , Mexico and Chile. In the United States, we announced a $2 billion commitment through 2015 to help end hunger in America. In China , we are working closely with the China Women’s Development Foundation (CWDF) on poverty alleviation for women. Walmart’s direct farm program procures directly from over 800,000 farmers, offering higher incomes for farmers and lower prices for customers."

Price continued, "In Japan we are committed to helping with the recovery efforts of the earthquake-affected region. We’ve committed well over $5 million to these efforts. We have just announced two new programs. One, in partnership with Save the Children to get children back into school, and the other with Mercy Corps to support women engaged in the harvesting of Wakame seaweed. We were also very active after the earthquake in Chile through a $1.9 million donation to provide emergency housing in different regions as well as to rebuild small businesses. In Canada , Walmart donated over CA$8 million as a key sponsor of the Children’s Miracle Network that raises funds for children’s hospitals across Canada . Finally, in Mexico , our Indigenous Product Commercialization Program, which offers training and funding to boost production processes of marginalized communities and indigenous groups living in isolated regions to improve their income and quality of life, was recognized by the United Nations Development Programme with its World Business and Development Award."

According to Price, these programs and their impact were possible only because of the collaboration between governments, the private sector and social sector.

"We want to be a part of the solution to a better life for the communities in which we operate. We want to work with governments and the social sector to ensure that," concluded Price.

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Kohl’s adds $30 million to holiday ad budget; most spent on digital, social media

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Menomonee Falls, Wis. — A Friday report in Advertising Age said that Kohl’s Corp. has added $30 million to its fourth quarter marketing spend in order to pad its efforts to garner holiday shopping dollars.

In 2010, the retailer spent $113 million on measured media in the fourth quarter, according to the report, and will spend about $143 million this year. Annually, Kohl’s spends $340 million.

“…We made the decision to invest more into marketing in the fourth quarter so we could take a real leadership position from a savings perspective for the holiday," said Kevin Mansell, Kohl’s CEO, during an earnings call with analysts.

The additional marketing funds will increase broadcast, direct mail, digital and mobile media spend. Kohl’s is planning nine homepage takeovers on sites such as AOL, MSN and Yahoo. It is also expanding its paid-advertising efforts with Facebook and said it plans to use targeted online ads.

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