Maxine Clark, CEO of Build-A-Bear Workshop, to retire
St. Louis — Retail veteran Maxine Clark announced she is stepping down as CEO of Build-A-Bear Workshop, the chain she founded in 1997. Clark, 63, said she will remain as CEO until a successor is found. She will also remain on the company’s board of directors.
“Creating Build-A-Bear Workshop and nurturing the company from a fledgling start-up to a global retail brand has been one of the greatest experiences of my professional life,” Clark said in a statement. “Although our business has experienced challenges over the past few years as consumers have reduced discretionary purchases, our strategic plan and key initiatives are beginning to work.”
As for her future plans, Clark said she planned to combine her entrepreneurial spirit and combine it with her passion to improve public education in the region.
“We have made great progress in education reform in the St. Louis area, but more is needed so that all children have the chance to achieve their dreams just as I have,” Clark said.
In a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, she discussed her intent to remain on the board after she retires.
“I love Build-A-Bear,” she said. “There’s no way I’m not going to be connected to Build-A-Bear.”
Prior to starting Build-A-Bear Workshop, Clark served as president of Topeka-based Payless ShoeSource. She was also a former executive of Venture Stores and the May Co.’s Famous-Barr stores.
Walgreens promotes Magnacca to EVP
Deerfield, Ill. — Walgreens on Friday promoted Joseph Magnacca to EVP from SVP, effective immediately. Magnacca also retains his title as president of daily living products and solutions.
“Joe plays a critical role in our strategy to step out of the traditional drug store channel and deliver the ‘Well Experience’ to our customers,” stated Greg Wasson, Walgreens president and CEO. “We want that customer experience to be unmatched in the industry, and Joe is helping to bring it to life through leading edge store design, enhanced products and services and increased customer delight. His exceptional strategic market focus means we are now better positioned than ever to meet the daily living needs of our customers.”
Magnacca has been credited by many for helping to transform what the drug store as a shopping channel meant to New Yorkers with Duane Reade and later Walgreens. “Drug, particularly in the United States, was an area that had seen very little advancement over the last several decades, both in the format and the content,” Magnacca told Drug Store News in a candid and wide-ranging discussion on retailing and his vision for store and content development. “Even though at Walgreens, there had been some pretty major advancements, those had been primarily pharmacy-based," he said. “What I saw when I was in Canada was an opportunity … to move away from being primarily a very specific, needs-driven reason to shop and become a place where people want to shop,” Magnacca continued. “Here in the United States, and in Canada, we had become focused mainly on size and replicating the existing model — and doing a great job of it, getting the best corners in America. But even more importantly, it was basically a pharmacy-led model.”
Magnacca’s influence on shaping the experience of today’s retail pharmacy shopper is perhaps most evident across Walgreens flagship locations, the most recent of which was opened in Los Angeles. There is a big picture thought process behind each of these new flagship iterations. No two are the same. And the only other brightly-colored common thread linking each of the locations — beyond the recurring theme of "local" — is that big picture thought behind each new store — to be customers’ first choice for health and daily living. "It’s about being different from everything else out there in the market; it’s about giving customers every imaginable option for how they could shop your brand, and then imagining a few more; it’s about making customers rethink how they shop the drug store and what they shop it for," wrote editor-in-chief Rob Eder out of that exclusive interview with Walgreens’ flagship director Joe Magnacca.
Walgreens operates flagship stores in New York, Las Vegas, Puerto Rico, Chicago and now Los Angeles. One in Boston is scheduled to open in the spring.
Magnacca oversees Walgreens merchandising and inventory strategy, private brands, insights and analytics, and the New York-based Duane Reade drug store chain, which Walgreens acquired in 2010. A retail industry veteran of more than 20 years, Magnacca joined Duane Reade in 2008 as SVP and chief merchandising officer. He was later promoted to EVP at Duane Reade and then to president of the drug store chain following its acquisition by Walgreens. He was named Walgreens president of daily living products and solutions in 2011.
Earlier in his career, Magnacca served as VP marketing and merchandising for Loblaw, a leading food distributer and provider of general merchandise products and services in Canada, and as EVP merchandising and category management for Shoppers Drug Mart, the largest drug chain in Canada.
Sears Canada lays off 700 employees
New York — Sears Canada is letting go of 700 workers as part of a plan to "right-size" the operation.
The lay-offs will include 360 department store associates and about 300 distribution center workers, as well as some head office personnel.
Sears Canada, majority-owned by Sears Holdings Corp., has falling sales. It is also facing major competition by Wal-Mart Stores and Target, which is set to make its Canadian debut this spring.