FINANCE

Party City tops estimates; to launch new marketplace

BY Marianne Wilson

Party City on Tuesday announced earnings and revenue that topped expectations, and said it would launch an online marketplace for party services.

The party supplies retailer and wholesaler reported a loss of $4.7 million in its first quarter, which included a $9.2 million one-time charges associated with company restructuring, and primarily represents related severance charges. Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, were 5 cents per share. The results surpassed Wall Street expectations. Total revenue rose 4.2% to $477.00 million in the quarter, ended March 31.

“2017 is off to a solid start with first quarter results that were in line with our expectations,” said James M. Harrison, CEO. “A compelling assortment, good in-store execution and strong holiday performance were all positive contributors in our retail business. We made significant progress on the acquisition front, strengthening our vertical model, expanding our company-owned footprint and increasing our global presence. We are building on our successful track record of making highly accretive acquisitions, and we have a robust pipeline of further opportunities.”

Party City said it has entered into an agreement to design and launch an online, easy-to-use digital marketplace for party-related services. The site would connect suppliers and consumers, and allowing a shopper to select, schedule and pay for party services, including entertainment, activities, food and decorations, from various screened vendors, according to the company.

Party City’s retail operations include over 900 specialty retail party supply stores (including approximately 150 franchise stores) throughout North America operating under the names Party City and Halloween City, and e-commerce websites, principally through the domain name PartyCity.com.

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ECOMMERCE

Amazon seeks to one-up Walmart on free shipping

BY Marianne Wilson

The free shipping wars seem to be heating up again.

In a posting on its website, Amazon said it has lowered its free shipping minimum for non-Prime members on eligible items to $25. Merchandise will be delivered in five to eight business days.

It’s the second time this year that Amazon has made it easier for shoppers to qualify for free shipping. In February, the online giant reduced its minimum order amount from $49 to $35.

The move comes as Walmart has become increasingly aggressive in competing with Amazon. In January, the discounter introduced free two-day shipping for orders over $35. To date. Amazon only offers two-day free shipping to Prime customers.

Walmart also is leveraging its vast store network as pickup points for online goods. In April, the retailer announced it would offer a discount on select items that are ordered online and then picked up in the store.

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C-SUITE

Struggling department store chain to replace CEO

BY Marianne Wilson

There’s been a shakeup at Bon-Ton Stores.

The department store retailer announced that Kathryn Bufano, president and CEO, will leave the company when her contract expires on August 25. She will be succeeded by William Tracy, currently the retailer’s COO. He will be Bon-Ton’s fourth chief executive since 2012.

Tracy has served as COO of Bon-Ton since July 2015. He previously held various management positions at Hudson's Bay Company, including executive VP of supply chain, logistics & omnichannel fulfillment, and global sourcing. Tracy also served as COO of Fortunoff Brands LLC and Nine West Corp.

Bon-Ton Stores operates 261 stores in the Northeast, Midwest and upper Great Plains regions under the Bon-Ton, Bergner's, Boston Store, Carson's, Elder-Beerman, Herberger's and Younkers banners. The company, which has been unprofitable for the past six years, posted a $63.4 million loss in 2016, up from a loss of $57 million the previous year.

The executive shakeup comes days after longtime Bon-Ton chairman Tim Grumbacher announced his decision to retire, effective May 13. Grumbacher, who will serve as chairman emeritus and advisor to the CEO, will be succeeded by his wife and board member, Debra K. Simon. Grumbacher is the Bon-Ton’s largest shareholder. He is also member of the family that founded the company in the late 1800s.

" Bill (Tracy) is a proven leader with more than 40 years of retail experience in the areas of operations, supply chain management and logistics for national department stores,” said Grumbacher. “We are confident that Bill will be a successful leader based on his in-depth knowledge of the retail industry, his operational expertise and his understanding of the Bon-Ton business.”

The retailer also announced that Chad Stauffer, currently a general merchandise managers, has been named executive VP, and chief merchandising officer.

Bufano was named CEO of Bon-Ton in the summer of 2014. She will remain with the company as CEO through a transition period to ensure an orderly and effective leadership transition. Prior to Bon-Ton, she served as president and chief merchandising office of Belk Inc. She also held positions at Macy’s, and Lord & Taylor.

“Bon-Ton has a long and successful history as the hometown store for consumers, and I am proud of the accomplishments we made during my tenure as CEO," she said in a statement. "I look forward to working with Bill to ensure a smooth transition, and wish Bon-Ton and the entire team the best of luck in the future.”

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R.Mader says:
May-10-2017 02:22 pm

Bon Ton
Tim Grumbacher is one of the nicest gentleman on this earth, just not tough enough to avoid bad influences and manage a 2+ billion dollar company. Sell company if they can find a buyer.

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