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Sainsbury names gold medal board member

BY CSA STAFF

Leading U.K. retailer J. Sainsbury named Jean Tomlin to its board as a non-executive director, effective January 1, 2013.

Tomlin’s appointment follows the previously announced retirement of Anna Ford from her role as non-executive director, effective December 31. In addition to her overall board contribution, Tomlin will chair the company’s corporate responsibility committee and sit on the remuneration and nomination committees.

Tomlin is the HR director for the London 2012 Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, where she oversaw the creation and execution of the hugely successful Games Maker volunteering program. She was previously group HR director at Marks & Spencer plc, HR director of Egg plc and sales and operations director of Prudential Direct.

Tomlin began her career as a graduate at Ford Motor Company working in personnel, training and labour relations and has also held a number of non-executive roles, serving on the board of the Greenwich Healthcare Trust and the Student Loans Company. She has also been a commissioner for judicial appointments, a member of the qualifications and curriculum advisory board, the race relations advisory group, and a trustee of CIDA (a South African self-funding university).

“We’re delighted to welcome Jean to our board. Her unique experience and breadth of skills will be a great addition to the board and we particularly look forward to her leadership of the corporate responsibility committee which contributes significantly to the success of Sainsbury’s,” said Sainsbury’s chairman David Tyler on Tomlin’s appointment.

“Sainsbury’s has an outstanding reputation and, with 22 million customers and 150,000 colleagues, touches so many areas of day-to-day life. I very much look forward to playing my part in the company’s future progress,” added Tomlin.

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Online sales up in November, traffic down

BY CSA STAFF

Online sales have continue to break new records this holiday season even though traffic to top retail sites during November was down compared to the same month the prior year.

Online measurement firm comScore Media Metrix released its top 50 Web properties report for November 2012 and it showed traffic at Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Sears were below prior year levels. The firm showed Walmart.com with 55.8 million unique visitors compared to 58.5 million unique visitors during November 2011. Walmart was ranked 18th on the top 50 list both years. Conversely, 6th ranked Amazon.com was shown to have 116 million unique visitors in November 2012 compared to 112.8 million last year. Walmart was not alone in reporting a decline in web traffic during November. Only three other retailers made the top 50, including Target ranked 28th with 37.3 million unique visitors, Best Buy ranked 31st with 35.7 million unique visitors and Sears ranked 43 with 28.9 million visitors. All three saw a decline from November the prior year when Target had 40.1 million visitors, Best buy had 36.5 million visitors and Sears had 31 million visitors.

Because online sales are well above prior year levels the drop in traffic is explained by the fact that shoppers are even more comfortable purchasing online this year, know exactly what they are looking for and conversion rates have improved.

"Online holiday promotions began in earnest almost as soon as the calendar flipped to November, as retailers hoped to draw in those ambitious early-season shoppers," said Jeff Hackett, EVP of comScore. "As we moved later into the month, the promotional activity surged even higher around Black Friday and Cyber Monday as consumers spent record amounts online. Numerous retail categories saw huge gains for the month, with toys and consumer electronics sites posting the sharpest month-over-month gains."

Retail sites had a near-monopoly on the top-gaining categories chart in November, as the entire category grew 5% to 191 million visitors – representing 87% of the total U.S. online population. Toys ranked as the fastest-growing category with a 30% increase compared to October’s to 23.9 million visitors. Toysrus sites led the category with 12.4 million visitors (up 54%), followed by The LEGO Group with 3.8 million (up 34%), Disney Shopping with 2 million (up 11%), AmericanGirl.com with 1.9 million (up 60%) and Fisher Price with 1.3 million (up 28%).

Consumer Electronics sites were a close second on the top-gaining categories chart, up 29% to 59.7 million visitors. BestBuy.com ranked first in the category with 35.1 million visitors (up 90%), followed by Samsung Group with 5.4 million (up 22%) and eBay Electronics U.S. with 5.2 million (up 14%). RadioShack Corporation doubled its traffic base to 4.4 million, while Buy.com Group Sites rounded out the top five with 4.1 million.

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Mohawk adds to flooring portfolio

BY CSA STAFF

Mohawk Industries plans to acquire leading ceramic tile manufacturer The Marazzi Group.

The $1.5 billion acquisition will make Mohawk, a flooring industry leader best known for carpeting, the world leader in ceramic tile, according to the company. The Marazzi Group is said to be the leading manufacturer and marketer of ceramic tile in all its major geographies, including Russia, the United States, Italy, France and Spain, with 2011 revenues of nearly $1.2 billion. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2013.

"This acquisition represents the next step in the expansion of Mohawk’s global business and will make Mohawk a stronger company," said Mohawk chairman and CEO Jeff Lorberbaum. "We found Marrazi attractive because of its solid management team and leadership positions in the U.S., Russia and Europe. Marazzi’s differentiated products, leading-edge design, efficient manufacturing and exemplary service have created one of the most valued brands in the industry. We have many opportunities to improve results by leveraging best practices, operational expertise, product innovation and manufacturing assets."

Marazzi distributes ceramic tile in more than 100 countries with worldwide consumption estimated to be more than 110 billion square feet and annual growth in the range of 5% to 6%. Marazzi operates two manufacturing sites, 21 regional distribution centers and franchises 300 retail stores that carry only Marazzi products.

"The combination of Mohawk and Marazzi creates opportunities to expand U.S. distribution through service centers and other channels, source ceramic from our worldwide assets, utilize our relationships to expand all product categories and deploy leading innovation and design trends to all of our ceramic businesses around the globe," Lorberbaum said.

 

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