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Notable Retail Quotes From RECon

BY Marianne Wilson

I’m just back from the retail real estate industry’s annual confab, the International Council of Shopping Centers’ RECon, in Las Vegas. As part of the event, Faith Hope Consolo, chairman, Prudential Douglas Elliman, hosted a panel discussion of retailers at the Women’s Special Industry Group meeting. Here are some of the more notable quotes from the discussion:

– Brenda Godfrey, VP global store development, Starbucks Coffee Co.
“We are renovating over 1,700 stores and making a significant investment in our existing store fleet.”

Speaking about Starbucks recently-opened Evolution Fresh juice bar: “We’re very pleased with the results. Based on its performance, we will be looking at future opportunities in other markets.”

With reference to Starbucks’ new small, 500-sq.-ft. store model: “With no seating, it’s a quick, in-and-out experience for our customers. So a smaller footprint, smaller rents, smaller build out costs. It’s a model that we can use as an infill strategy. ”

– David Chiovetti, senior VP North America retail/consumer direct, True Religion Brand Jeans
“Retail in Canada is underpenetrated in terms of shopping centers for us. Canada is a big opportunity for us.”

– Kitsy Ritter, director of real estate, Gap Inc.
“The days of asking landlords for rent reductions have really slowed.”

“We have 12 Athleta stores and they are performing very, very well. That number will double by the end of this year, with 50 by the end of next year.

“The Piperlime store will be a pilot for us to see how it does in brick-and-mortar.”

Mark Comstock, VP real estate, Sur La Table
“The greatest challenge in retail is [finding] good people.”

“We will grow at about 10% net (store count) for the next few years.”


More As I See It entries.

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Hy-Vee names new chairman and CEO

BY CSA STAFF

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Randy Edeker, has been named chairman and CEO of Hy-Vee. Edeker will be only the fourth person in the company’s 82-year history to be elected to this position. He will succeed Ric Jurgens, who is retiring June 1 following a 43-year caeer with the company.

Edeker most recently served as President and Chief Operating Officer, and will now hold the offices of chairman, CEO and president of Hy-Vee.

"I have been truly blessed to be allowed to assume this role, leading the most incredible group of dedicated, hard-working people," Edeker said. "I am both honored and humbled to follow in the footsteps of Hy-Vee’s great leaders, including the man who has caringly mentored me for the past eight years, Ric Jurgens.

"We will remain diligent in upholding the core values our founders set forth for us and delivering great service, great value and a helpful smile."

Edeker, a 30-year veteran of Hy-Vee, has held positions at every level of the company during his career. He joined Hy-Vee as a part-time employee at the Chariton store and quickly moved up through the ranks, working at retail stores in four states before getting his first store director assignment at Columbus, NE in 1993. After just a year at the helm there, he was selected by his peers for induction to the Hy-Vee Hall of Fame as "Store Manager of the Year" – the first of his three Hall of Fame awards.

In 1995 Edeker was promoted to Hy-Vee’s corporate staff, serving as a director of operations overseeing stores in two different geographic regions. In 2004 he was elected VP marketing for the company; he moved up to SVP retail operations in 2006, and in 2008 he became EVP, COO. Stockholders elected Edeker to succeed Jurgens as president of Hy-Vee in 2009.

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Simon talks leverage, growth at retail conference

BY CSA STAFF

Walmart U.S. CEO Bill Simon delivered an optimistic message about Walmart U.S.’s performance during the first quarter and its potential for the coming year during a presentation at a Morgan Stanley conference in Boston Wednesday. Ahead of the Walmart’s upcoming shareholders’ meeting, Simon talked about leveraging a more efficient supply chain to drive costs down, lower prices and improve traffic and shared insights on the company’s plans for growth in the second quarter and beyond.

Simon noted that during the first quarter, all merchandise categories were positive, with the exception of electronics. He was particularly pleased with apparel, and how the company’s focus on basics over fashion has paid off.

Looking back at the past five quarters, Simon was pleased to point out the improved efficiency of the supply chain. He noted that while store count has grown tremendously, the number of distribution centers remained the same, and that while the company will invest in its existing DCs, it has no plans to build new ones this year or next.

“Lower expenses, lower prices, drives traffic, drives comps and fuels the productivity loop.”
Simon said Walmart stores are starting to see the same efficiency as the supply chain and that its business is coming together to deliver a better experience for both Walmart shoppers and investors.
“If we can lower the price for our customer and still please our shareholders, we should lower the price all day long.”
Looking ahead, Simon said the company sees a lot of potential with its smaller-format Walmart Express stores.

“We’re very happy with the top line,” said Simon. “But, what we’re finding is that inside of 12 months they turned profitable.”

Another area of potential growth will be Walmart’s Neighborhood Market stores. During the second quarter the company expects to open 16 stores, and by the end of the year will double its existing store count by about 50%.

Walmart has not forgotten about the supercenter, which “remain a great growth vehicle.” The company plans to open more than 100 new supercenters (including new stores, new locations and expanded locations) this year.

To listen to the full presentation, click here.

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