FINANCE

J.C. Penney Slows Growth

BY CSA STAFF

Fort Worth, Texas At an analyst meeting on Tuesday, J.C. Penney chairman and CEO Myron “Mike” Ullman announced the company would slow store openings, scaling back from the projected 50 new store openings in 2008 to a more conservative 36 openings.

The Associated Press reported that Ullman attributed the change in Penney’s growth strategy to the overall economic slump and uncertainty. A Reuters release quoted Ullman as saying, “I’ve been in the business 39 years. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an environment that was as unpredictable as the current environment.”

Ullman also told analysts that the chain plans to accelerate its merchandising innovation. Penney this week announced several new lines for teens, along with the launch of a new store brand of home furnishings and accessories called Linden Street.

Earlier this week, J.C. Penney reported same-store sales decreased 12.3% for the fives weeks ended April 5, compared to an 11.0% over the same period in 2007. Total sales also declined in March, falling 10.3%.

In the company’s prepared release, J.C. Penney reported that it expected the negative pattern to continue, predicting a “mid- to high single-digit decrease” in same-store sales for the four-week sales period that will end May 3. In 2007, April same-store sales fell 3.4% across the department store chain.

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Nickelodeon names creative head

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids and Family Group has named Gary Bonilla to the new position of senior vp of creative strategy for Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids and Family Group. Bonilla’s primary responsibilities include managing the creative development for Nickelodeon’s consumer products business, developing strategies around consumer experiences and ensuring the network’s branded consumer product offerings exemplify the Nickelodeon brand.

“Gary comes to Nickelodeon with more than 15 years of advertising and branding experience in multicultural and international markets,” said Leigh Ann Brodsky, president of Nickelodeon and Viacom Consumer Products.  “His strong background makes him a perfect addition to our leadership team as we take the Nick Brand to new global heights over the next few years.”

Most recently, as the vp of strategic services at Winglatino/WWP, a multi-cultural advertising agency, Bonilla developed and executed plans for: Procter & Gamble, DIAGEO and Goya. Bonilla also designed the first-ever online consumer panels created to understand the influence of ethnic markets in the general U.S. population.  His work and collaborations have received awards and nominations in advertising festivals worldwide including Cannes, The London Ad Festival and FIAP. 

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Rao joins New York & Co. design team

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK New York & Company has announced that Marie Holman Rao will serve as a creative consultant to the design team effective April 22. In addition, the company indicated that Marie Fogel has resigned as evp of design – apparel to pursue other interests.

Richard Crystal, New York & Companys chairman and ceo, stated: I am delighted that Marie Holman Rao has agreed to serve as a creative design consultant to our Company. Rao formerly was president of limited design services and prior to that was president of Banana Republic, a division of Gap Inc.

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