OPERATIONS

Michaels launches search for new CEO

BY Staff Writer

Irving, Texas — Michaels Arts and Crafts said Friday it will be seeking a new top executive to replace CEO John Menzer, who has resigned to recover from a stroke.

After Menzer suffered a stroke in April, Michaels created an office of the CEO comprised of Lew Klessel, interim COO and a managing director of Bain Capital, and Chuck Sonsteby, Michael’s chief administrative officer and CFO. The pair will continue to lead the company until Menzer’s successor is hired.

Menzer served as CEO of Michaels for the past three years and prior to that he held a variety of senior leadership roles at Wal-Mart Stores Inc., including CFO and CEO of the company’s international division.

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OPERATIONS

Former Sears interim CEO Johnson named CEO of spun-off unit

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — Sears Holdings Corp. said that former interim CEO Bruce Johnson will serve as president and CEO of Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores once the unit is spun off from the retailer.

Johnson served as interim CEO of Sears Holdings from 2008 to early 2011.

Last February, Sears Holdings announced it would spin off its Sears Hometown and Outlet businesses in an effort to raise an expected $400 million to $500 million.

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Survey: A third of back-to-school shoppers will use mobile phones to compare prices in-store

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Los Angeles — A survey released Monday by PriceGrabber found that 37% of back-to-school shoppers plan to use mobile phones to compare prices while in-store.

The results, which supplement PriceGrabber’s recently released Back-To-School Shopping Forecast, revealed that while consumers are planning to spend more money on back-to-school items this year, they continue to look for ways to stretch their dollar and take advantage of retailer incentives to save.

According to the survey, 74% of consumers chose free shipping as the top retailer tactic that would entice them to make a back-to-school purchase this year.

When survey respondents were asked to select all of the retailer tactics that would encourage them to make a back-to-school shopping purchase, sales came in second place with 72% of the consumer vote; 66% of shoppers noted price cuts; 63% cited coupons; 43% selected online promotions; and price matching and in-store only promotions tied with 28% of the vote.

"Whether shopping in stores or online during this back-to-school season, consumers should leverage the multitude of money saving tools and retailer incentives that are available," said Graham Jones, general manager of PriceGrabber. "We can deduce from our survey that free shipping will be a huge deciding factor when consumers purchase online. Savvy shoppers will get the most for their money by searching for coupons and actively using comparison shopping websites to ensure they are getting the best deal."

When respondents were asked to select all of the ways in which they plan to save money while back-to-school shopping this year, online and comparison shopping websites ranked in first place with 62% of the consumer vote. Fifty-six percent of consumers said they plan to shop at discount, bargain and outlet stores, and 50% will search for school supplies such as pens, pencils and glue sticks already in their house before buying new items. Forty-nine percent of consumers are planning to take an inventory of their kid’s closet to see which clothing items can still be worn and which items need to be replaced before going shopping; 36% plan to make a list to control impulse buying; and 34% plan to visit retailer websites to print out coupons.

Consumers’ use of smartphones to find the best deals while shopping continues to grow in popularity. Thirty-seven percent of PriceGrabber survey respondents plan to compare prices from their mobile phone while in brick-and-mortar stores this back-to-school shopping season. When asked if they plan to do any back-to-school shopping from their mobile phone, 14% of respondents said they plan to do so.

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