OPERATIONS

Meijer plans 9K new hires

BY Dan Berthiaume

Grand Rapids, Mich. — Meijer is preparing to hire thousands of new team members for its stores in response to company growth and in preparation for the fall and holiday selling seasons. While staffing needs vary from store to store, all Meijer stores have positions available. Broken down by state, Meijer plans 4,400 new hires in Michigan, 1,800 in Indiana, 1,600 in Ohio, 900 in Illinois and 500 in Kentucky.

Most new Meijer stores require 200-250 team members. While traditional retail positions, such as stockers and cashiers are needed, there are also opportunities in more specialized roles such as meat cutters and cake decorators. The retailer has both part-time and full-time openings.

“Meijer has already opened five of the six new stores planned for this year, with another nine opening next year,” said Janet Emerson, VP of operations for Meijer. “Our continued growth, along with the upcoming holiday selling season, make it imperative that we increase our staffing properly to operate our stores and deliver on the Meijer promise of providing exceptional customer service.”

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Report: YouTube targets Vine, Instagram with new app

BY Dan Berthiaume

San Bruno, Calif. — YouTube is reportedly challenging the Vine video app from Twitter and Instagram video app from Facebook with its own new video app called MixBit. As reported by the New York Times, MixBit allows users to record up to 16 seconds of video (compared to 15 seconds for Instagram and six seconds for Vine) on their smartphones.

However, the difference comes in with the ability MixBit provides to mix and edit up to 256 individual video clips together into a video that can run up to one hour long and be shared via Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus or a new MixBit website YouTube is providing. Users can also edit publicly available video clips on the MixBit site.

The New York Times quotes YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley as saying the main point of the service is actually to encourage the remixing and resuse of existing YouTube content. MixBit videos must be released anonymously and do not allow viewers to post comments. Versions of the app for Apple and the web are reportedly available, with an Android version coming soon.

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A foul mass market smell at Elizabeth Arden

BY CSA STAFF

Global fragrance leader Elizabeth Arden cited curtailed orders at a mass market customer as a factor in its weaker-than-expected full year financial results, and the finger was quickly pointed at Walmart.

Elizabeth Arden said sales on a constant currency basis in its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended June 30 increased 1.2% to $268 million and 9.6% to $1.35 billion, respectively. However, even when adjusted to exclude non-recurring expenses, the company posted a per share loss of 10 cents a share, compared to a prior year profit of 28 cents. For the full year, earnings per share were $2.14 compared to $2.07.

Those results were less than the company expected and Scott Beattie, Elizabeth Arden’s chairman, president and CEO, said there were two primary factors.

“The first was due to weakness at one of our largest North American mass retail customers, both in terms of retail sales performance and replenishment rate,” Beattie said. “The second factor was that our growth projections for the Elizabeth Arden brand proved to be overly optimistic given the complexity and scope of transition underway for the brand repositioning.”

Reference to one of the company’s largest mass retail customers prompted speculation that the retailer in question was Walmart. However, Beatttie was careful to distinguish between “one of” and “the” company’s largest customers. Walmart is certainly the latter and last year accounted for 13% of Elizabeth Arden’s total sales of roughly $1.24 billion. Walmart accounted for an even larger percentage of Elizabeth Arden’s business when looking only at the $778 million North American division where Walmart accounted for 20% of sales, or $155 million.

It was unclear whether curtailed orders at another of the company’s largest customers other than Walmart would have been capable of moving the needle on sales and profits to the extent it did during the fourth quarter when the situation was most pronounced. According to Elizabeth Arden, its unidentified key North American mass retail customers reduced their inventory on hand below the pace of retail sales, and the replenishment rate at account worsened significantly in the month of June, according to Beattie.

That situation, coupled with weak performance in Europe, particularly in the United Kingdom, were the primary reasons why the company fell short of fourth quarter and full year earnings expectations communicated in May.

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