STORE SPACES

Record expansion for Kum & Go

BY Marianne Wilson

West Des Moines, Iowa — Convenience-store operator Kum & Go. opened 43 stores in nine states — more than double its previous record of 21 new stores in 2009 — in 2012, for a total of 430 stores in 11 states. The company plans to continue its growth strategy in the coming years.

“We’re not letting up,” president and CEO Kyle J. Krause said. “Our growth plan for the next five years is just as aggressive.”

In addition to expanding in its existing markets, Kum & Go is targeting growth in new markets. “We entered the Little Rock, Ark., and Colorado Springs, Colo., markets this year,” Krause said. “These two brand new markets show our determination to identify favorable metropolitan areas that meet our new store criteria and offer strong growth potential.”

New Kum & Go stores feature an increased focus on sustainability.

“All of our new store prototypes since 2011 are submitted for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design [LEED] certification,” Krause said.

Currently, 17 stores are LEED-certified. Another 19 have been submitted for certification, and 28 are registered. Eco-friendly store features include sustainable materials, reflective concrete, high-efficiency equipment, alternative fuels, LED lighting, daylighting, water-saving fixtures and more.

“As part of our sustainability, we offer many types of different bio-fuel options, including both E10 and E85 ethanol products,” said Krause. “These fuel options support our local agricultural economies while reducing our dependence on foreign oil. At the same time, we’re a leader in auto diesel, with more than two-thirds of our locations offering auto diesel at the pump.”

The company’s social responsibility also includes giving back to the communities in which it operates. Kum & Go shares 10% of its profits with charitable and educational causes each year. Members of the Kum & Go team are also encouraged to give of their time to important local causes.

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OPERATIONS

Wet Seal names Sears exec as CEO

BY Marianne Wilson

Foothill Ranch, Calif. — The Wet Seal has named John D. Goodman to serve as its new CEO, with his appointment effective Jan. 7. He replaces former CEO Susan McGalla, who was fired by the company in July 2012 amid sliding sales.

Goodman, who initially joined the Wet Seal as a board member in September 2012, is an apparel industry executive with over 25 years of experience at companies such as Gap, Inc., Levi Strauss & Co., Mervyn’s, and Bloomingdale’s. Most recently, he served as EVP, chief apparel and home officer, Sears Holdings, overseeing both the Sears and Kmart brands. From 2008 to 2009, he led the turnaround at Charlotte Russe.

"I have always viewed Wet Seal as a pioneer in fast fashion and am thrilled to join the company as CEO," Goodman said "I am honored to have this opportunity to work with the company’s executives and associates in both merchandising and operations and return the brand to its roots and drive long-term success.”

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OPERATIONS

Retail holiday hiring in 2012 reached highest level since 2006

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Hiring by the nation’s retailers this past holiday season was at the highest level in six years despite the uncertain economy, Superstorm Sandy and the presidential election, according to an analysis of government job data by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Chicago, a leading outplacement consultancy.

Between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31 retailers added 728,300 jobs, which was 10.3% more than the same-three month period in 2011. The retail jobs added for the holiday 2012 season were the strongest year-end hiring surge since 2006, when employment in the retail sector increased by 746,900.

Much of the holiday hiring occurred in October and November when retailers added 149,600 jobs and 490,400 workers, respectively. Merchants hired 88,300 workers in December, down from the 147,600 hired in December 2011.

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