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Report: Tesco could exit U.S. if Fresh & Easy doesn’t improve

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — U.K. retailing giant Tesco PLC could give up its American supermarket venture, Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, if the chain continues to disappoint and not make a profit, RetailWeek and other British news organizations reported.

In remarks at the company’s annual meeting on Friday, Tesco CEO Philip Clarke said: “If we see there is no chance of success, we’ll do as we’ve just done in Japan,” referring to Tesco’s deal this month to exit that market.

At the same time, however, Clarke sounded an upbeat note about the U.S. venture’s prospects, RetailWeek reported.

“Fresh & Easy is improving as a business and I can assure you that it is receiving close attention from the executive team,” he said. “We believe there is great value in the business and, if we get it right, an excellent stream of growth in future years.”

Clarke has refused to bow to shareholder pressure to set a target date for when Fresh & Easy, which launched in 2007, would finally begin to make a profit.

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Apr-10-2013 07:41 pm

If we see there is no chance of success, we’ll do as we’ve just done in Japan,” referring to Tesco’s deal this month to exit that market. Chatrandom.com

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Apr-10-2013 07:41 pm

If we see there is no chance of success, we’ll do as we’ve just done in Japan,” referring to Tesco’s deal this month to exit that market. Chatrandom.com

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Two down, two to go at Tuesday Morning

BY CSA STAFF

DALLAS — Steven Becker and Richard Willis are the newest members of the Tuesday Morning board of directors with two more directors expected to be named in the coming months.

The infusion of new board members follows last month’s dismissal of former president and CEO Kathleen Mason and an increasing ownership interest by the Dallas-based investment firm Becker Drapkin Management. Steven Becker is a partner and co-founder of the firm which focuses on investments small capitalization companies. He also serves on the boards of Hot Topic, Ruby Tuesday, semiconductor manufacturer Pixelworks and diagnostics provider SDIX.

Before starting Becker Drapkin in Dallas in December 2009, Becker was a founding partner in Greenway Capital, a fund focused on small cap, U.S. companies. He started Greenway in 2005, after eight years at Special Situations Fund.

"We are strong believers in Tuesday Morning’s brand, business model, and potential," Becker said. "The opportunity now is to work shoulder-to-shoulder with the board and management team to improve execution and the customer experience so that this potential, as well as shareholder value, is maximized."

Tuesday Morning currently operates 852 stores.

New board member Willis currently serves as president and CEO of Navarre Corp., a distributor and provider of logistics solutions and publisher of computer software. He previously served as the executive chairman of specialty retailer Charlotte Russe, president of shoes for footwear manufacturer Crews and president and CEO of book distributor Baker & Taylor.

The company said it would work with Becker Drapkin Management to identify two additional board members in the coming months. In the meantime, the company is operating under the leadership of president and interim CEO Michael Marchetti who was elevated from his role as EVP and COO when Mason was released.

"On behalf of the board, I am pleased to welcome both Steve (Becker) and Richard (Willis) to our board," said Bruce Quinnell, Tuesday Morning’s board chairman. “Their track record of working constructively with public company investments, including retail companies, will be a valuable asset as we work to reinvigorate the brand."

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AZO names HR head

BY CSA STAFF

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — With a store based approaching 5,000 units, AutoZone on Monday elevated its human resources efforts.

AutoZone named Michael Womack SVP of human resources and customer satisfaction and the newest member of its executive committee, reporting to company chairman, president and CEO Bill Rhodes.

“We are excited to have Mike join AutoZone and believe he will be a terrific addition to our company,” Rhodes said. “Mike’s background and expertise in human resources and employment law will provide valuable depth to our management team.”

Womack previously served as VP of human resources at Cintas Corp., and prior to nine years with Cintas he was a partner with the law firm Littler Mendelson. He holds a law degree from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Science from Central Michigan University.

He joins AutoZone as the retailer continues to enjoy a leadership position within the automotive parts and accessories channel. The company currently operates 4,613 stores in the United States and Puerto Rico as well as 297 stores in Mexico.

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