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Retail Entrepreneur of the Year, 2007: Matthew McCauley

BY CSA STAFF

Of the thousands of publicly traded companies in the United States, very few have CEOs under the age of 35. Gymboree Corp. is one of them. At 34, Matthew McCauley is the youngest CEO in the company’s 31-year history. What role did his youth play in his success?

“I don’t think it’s as much about age as it is about personality,” McCauley said. “It’s more of a willingness to try new things, look at things from a fresh perspective and not accept the status quo. If there is an advantage to being young in a business like this, it is that you don’t come into situations with a ‘been there, done that’ attitude.”

McCauley started out in retail handling distribution at Payless ShoeSource. From there, he went to Gap Inc., where he served in a variety of positions.

In 2001, McCauley joined Gymboree as director of allocation. One promotion followed the other in swift succession, and in 2005, he was named president. In 2006, McCauley was appointed CEO.

McCauley has been at the forefront of Gymboree’s growth initiatives, the newest being the value-oriented Crazy 8 concept. At the same time, he has concentrated the company’s focus strictly on its core children’s product, shutting down its Janeville women’s apparel chain. His strategy seems to be working: Gymboree’s sales hit $247.6 million in the third quarter, up 18% vs. last year. Same-store sales were up 8%.

Friendly, open and enthusiastic, McCauley routinely encourages and seeks feedback from others in the Gymboree organization.

“The thing that I really love about my job is the ability to work with a team of really creative people who can rally around a vision and achieve seemingly impossible goals,” he said.

CEO and chairman Gymboree Corp. San FranciscoAnnual sales: $791.6 millionType of business: Children’s apparel and accessoriesNumber of stores: 755 (587 Gymboree stores (557 in the United States and 30 in Canada), 73 Gymboree Outlet stores, 86 Janie and Jack shops and 9 Crazy 8 stores)Areas of operation: Nationwide and Canada

As to the attraction of retail, McCauley says it harkens back to his love of fixing things.

“In retail, there is always something to fix,” he explained, “and you are able to see tangible results of your efforts almost immediately.”

Outside of work, McCauley is a devoted family man and father.

“My family and my church are the most important things in my life,” he said. “I spend a lot of time wrestling with my kids, and I love to go four-wheeling when I have a bit of downtime.”

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CompUSA may get a new look

BY CSA STAFF

ADDISON, Tx. After opening a new format store last month, CompUSA may be changing the format of its other stores, depending on customer demand and product interest.

According to reports, the elements found in the prototype store, located in Texas, will be incorporated into other CompUSA locations across the United States.

The nearly 7,700 square-ft. relocation site includes an Apple shop featuring Mac computers, iPods and Apple accessories, and a full-length LCD TV wall.

Additional expansions include extended gaming, which includes an entire wall devoted to the Nintendo Wii, PlayStation3 and Xbox 360 gaming platforms, plus a PC gaming setup to test equipment and play new titles.

While businesses can get their share of support with a specialized services section, all consumers can visit the store’s redesigned IT support area.

“This new store aligns CompUSA’s vision to better serve its three core customers, the technology enthusiast, educated professional and small and medium businesses,” said Gabriela Villalobos, the retailer’s sales and operations evp.

CompUSA announced in April that it would narrow its focus to three core customer groups rather than try to serve a mass audience.

The move was part of a comprehensive restructuring, initiated last February, that included an overhaul of senior management and the closure of half its store base as the privately held chain looked to improve sales and profitability.

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Walgreens withdraws from CVS provider plans

BY CSA STAFF

DEERFIELD, Ill. After many months of talks over low and below-market payment rates by CVS Caremark for four prescription plans, Walgreens has withdrawn as a pharmacy provider from the plans.

Patients affected include members of prescription benefit plans managed by CVS Caremark for ArcelorMittal, Johnson Controls, Progressive Casualty Insurance and Wisconsin Education Association Trust.

Most of the affected members live in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Trent Taylor, president of Walgreens Health Services, the managed care division of Walgreens, released the following statement:

“This is not where we wanted negotiations to lead,” he said. “We’re sorry that our pharmacy patients and CVS Caremark’s clients are caught in the middle, and we’ll do all we can to ensure a smooth transition for our patients to another pharmacy. Meanwhile, we’ll continue to work on resolving this issue with CVS Caremark.

“Leaving a benefits plan is an extraordinary step for us, but it demonstrates how extraordinarily low our payments were from CVS Caremark. We can’t continue accepting reimbursement rates that are drastically below market, while offering patients needed special services such as 24-hour pharmacy access and drive-thru pharmacies.”

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