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Katy and Kate join Five Below board

BY CSA STAFF

Kroger executive Kathleen “Katy” Barclay and former Coach executive Catherine “Kate” Buggeln are the newest member of the Five Below board of directors.

Despite similarities in name, Katy Barclay and Kate Buggeln bring different strengths to the rapidly growing teen and tween retailer’s board. Barclay has more than 35 years of experience in the human resources field and currently serves as senior vice president of human resources at Kroger.

Prior to Kroger, Barclay spent 25 years at General Motors Company serving in various human resources roles. Beggeln joins Five Below's Board with over 30 years of experience in the retail industry. She currently serves as a member of the board for Vitamin Shoppe, Ascena Retail Group and Noble Biomaterials. She previously served as senior vice president of strategy business development at Coach and also spent many years as a retail consultant at LakeWest Group Ltd. and Coopers & Lybrand LLP. She also previously served as a board member at Stuart Weitzman and the Timberland Co.

"We are excited to welcome Katy and Kate to our Board of Directors," said Tom Vellios, executive chairman of Five Below. "As we execute on the significant store growth opportunity ahead, talent will be an important component and Katy's extensive knowledge and experience in human resources management together with Kate's deep retail and diverse business expertise will be invaluable. We're fortunate to have Katy and Kate and believe that their collective knowledge and expertise will be of great benefit to Five Below as we continue to expand into new and existing markets, realize our substantial store opportunity and build value for our shareholders."

Rapid store expansion is one way the company is looking to build shareholder value. This year, the operator of 365 stores plans to open 70 new locations on top of the 62 new stores that were added in 2014.

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Ulta to open 100 stores in 2015 as Q4 tops forecasts

BY Marianne Wilson

Bolingbrook, Ill. — Ulta Beauty is running strong. On Thursday, the fast-growing beauty products and services retailer posted fourth quarter profit and revenue that topped Wall Street expectations, including an 11.1% jump in same-store sales. It also announced plans for 100 net new stores in fiscal 2015, for a 13% increase in total square footage.

Ulta reported net earnings of $87.3 million for the quarter ended January 31, up 21.6% from $70.7 million in the year-ago period.

Revenue jumped 20.7% to $1.05 billion, from $868.1 million last year.

Total same-store increased 11.1%, especially impressive on top of last year’s increase of 9.2%. The growth was driven by 7.7% growth in transactions and 3.4% growth in average ticket. E-commerce sales grew 55.2%, representing 230 basis points of the total company same store sales increase of 11.1%;

“Ulta Beauty wrapped up a very strong year of sales and profit growth with an excellent fourth quarter, which we are proud to celebrate as our first billion dollar sales quarter,” said Mary Dillon, CEO. “Our best comparable sales increase of the year was driven by accelerating traffic growth, continued strength in prestige and mass color cosmetics, a successful holiday selling season, execution of more effective marketing and CRM strategies, a double-digit comp in our salon business, and a 55% comparable sales increase in our e-commerce business.”

Ulta opened 100 stores last year, and ended the year with 774 locations.
For the year, the company reported profit of $257.1 million, and revenue of $3.24 billion.

For fiscal 2015, the retailer is forecasting same store sales growth of 6% to 8% and e-commerce growth of 40%.

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Report: Alibaba investing $200 million in Snapchat

BY Dan Berthiaume

Hangzhou, China – Alibaba Holding Group Inc. has reportedly invested $200 million in social messaging platform Snapchat. According to Bloomberg, the investment values the Los Angeles-based company, which allows users to send text and photos that disappear in 10 seconds, at $15 billion.

In 2014, Snapchat received investments from Yahoo and venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in a funding round that put a valuation of $10 billion on the company. Alibaba was previously reported to have held investment talks with Snapchat in summer 2014.

According to Snapchat, which recently added advertising to its platform, its users send 700 million snaps daily.

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