STORE SPACES

Johnny Rockets unveils new design

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — Johnny Rockets debuted its updated interior design at its just-opened restaurant at South Street Seaport, in New York City.

"I’ve waited 10 years for this site, and we’ve taken great care to preserve the historical aspects of the building, while keeping to the tradition of our sleek and modern American feel," said Johnny Rockets franchise owner Bill White. "

The new Seaport restaurant is the first prototype of the chain’s new interior design, which takes the traditional red, chrome and checkerboard décor and replaces it with rich earth tones for a more contemporary, warm, and upscale environment.

“Just as the Seaport has maintained its historic American heritage, while updating its offerings for visitors, we have also modernized the look and feel of our restaurant design to keep up with our Guests’ lifestyles and the ambiance of the area,” said company CEO John Fuller.

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Groupon ventures into grocery deals with Big Y

BY CSA STAFF

CHICAGO and CAMBRIDGE, Mass. and SPRINGFIELD, Mass. and BOSTON — Through a partnership with Incentive Targeting and HaloEffect, Big Y Foods will become the first grocery retailer to offer Groupon deals digitally loaded to shoppers’ loyalty cards, the companies announced.

Big Y’s first Groupon offer, distributed among Springfield, Mass. subscribers on June 7, was for a newly introduced Shellfish Grill Pack, including lobster tails, mussels, clams, and other seafood suitable for grilling, which retails at $39.99 and is being offered at a 40% discount for $24.

For this test, a shopper purchases the Groupon, enters their Big Y Express Saving Club membership number and the Shellfish Grill Pack deal is electronically loaded to the shopper’s loyalty card. When the shopper purchases the promoted products at a Big Y supermarket, the deal is automatically credited at check out.

“As pioneers in loyalty cards for retail, we are excited to partner with Groupon and Incentive Targeting to test social buying with our shoppers,” said Michael D’Amour, VP sales and merchandising for Big Y Foods. “We anticipate that we will attract new customer interest as we explore new avenues in interactive customer marketing.”

Big Y is based in Springfield Mass., and operates 61 stores throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts.

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A head merchant move at Big 5

BY CSA STAFF

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. —Boyd Clark was named SVP buying at Big 5 Sporting Goods following the resignation of long-time head merchant Thomas Schlauch, the company announced.

Clark previously served as a VP buying at Big 5 for the past 12 years and has worked in the merchandising department since first joining the company in 1992. Schlauch, 66, has served as SVP buying for the past 19 years, spent two years as head of buying and eight years as VP buying. In total, he spent 44 years with the company in various capacities and will continue to provide transitional service and assist in special projects.

“We are grateful to Tom for all of his contributions to our company over the past 44 years,” said Big 5 chairman and CEO Steven Miller. “During his tenure, we have grown our store base from just 11 stores in California to 396 stores in 12 states, and have grown annual revenue to nearly $900 million. I am pleased at the prospect of Tom continuing to assist us through this transition and being available to engage in special projects as we move forward under new leadership in our buying department.”

Schlauch’s replacement is also a veteran merchant who, prior to joining Big 5, served as a buyer and divisional merchandise manager at a regional retail and prior to that as a sporting goods manufacturer sales representative.

“We are excited to have (Boyd Clark) Bud lead our buying and merchandising team as we continue our efforts to align our product offering with today’s consumer,” Miller said. “With his wealth of experience and as a highly respected buyer in our industry, he has an ideal background to direct Big 5 Sporting Goods’ buying and merchandising programs. I am confident (he) will be instrumental as we move forward with our business plan to deliver profitable growth.”

The leadership transition comes as amid a challenging sale environment, particularly along the West Coast where the majority of the company’s 11,000-sq.-ft. stores are located. First-quarter sales were at the low end of the company’s guidance range with comps down 0.9% even with the benefit of an easy comparison with the prior year period when stores were closed on Easter Sunday.

As Miller explained at the time of the earnings release, the weak economy hit Big 5 from both directions (sales and expenses) during the first quarter.

“Sales were negatively impacted by a decrease in customer traffic, as we believe many of our consumers reduced purchases of discretionary items in response to the challenging economic environment, characterized by rising gas prices and high unemployment,” Miller said. “Earnings were lower than our previous expectations primarily due to higher than anticipated expenses associated with employee benefits, including workers’ compensation, health and welfare and California unemployment taxes.”

A new head merchant won’t alter the macroeconomic climate however which has the company forecasting second-quarter comps will be flat to down in single digits while earnings per share in the range of 6 cents to 14 cents will be below the prior year’s 22 cents a share profit.

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