TECHNOLOGY

Sandwich chain makes talent acquisition to bolster digital presence

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

A pioneer in mobile ordering and payment capabilities, Subway is making a bold move to keep its digital strategies innovative.

The sandwich chain said Tuesday that it acquired assets from the Vancouver-based technology firm Avanti Commerce, a move that will help the company further improve its digital presence. Specifically, Subway is buying a 20-person team that will be dedicated to the expansion and customization of unique e-commerce and omnichannel platforms. One of the first projects currently underway is the development of an in-restaurant kiosk program.

“This reinforces our commitment to attracting top technology and digital marketing talent,” said Carman Wenkoff, Subway’s CIO and chief digital officer. “This will bring our commerce platform that is focused on enhancing engagement and building loyalty to the next level, and will allow us to deliver value to the market quickly.”

The acquisition comes only months after Subway organized its digital technology efforts under a single group called Subway Digital, which is dedicated to building the framework for a comprehensive, global digital strategy. Along with the addition of the newly-acquired technology team, which will remain in Vancouver, Subway Digital plans to add at least 50 jobs this year, and up to 150 over the next five years.

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FINANCE

Teen apparel retailer exits bankruptcy; gets new owner

BY Marianne Wilson

Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy intact but with a new owner.

The chain’s reorganization plan was approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of Delaware on Sept. 6. Under the plan, the chain gives all its stock to affiliates of private equity firm Golden Gate Capital, its senior lender.

“We thank Golden Gate Capital for their partnership, which enabled PacSun to navigate the restructuring process in only five months, and we look forward to continuing our strong working relationship as we embark on our next chapter,” said Gary H. Schoenfeld, PacSun president and CEO. “We are very pleased to have had Golden Gate Capital's full support in ensuring that all branded partners – both large and small – are to be paid in full as part of our plan.”

As part of the deal, Golden Gate will reduce the amount it is owed by PacSun to about $30 million initially from $88 million, Bloomberg reported. Golden Gate has also agreed to provide a minimum of $20 million in additional capital to the reorganized company to support PacSun’s long-term growth objectives.

“PacSun offers consumers the most compelling and desirable mix of brands celebrating the California lifestyle,” said Josh Olshansky, managing director at Golden Gate Capital. “Now, with a strengthened balance sheet, reduced long-term debt and reduced annual occupancy costs, the company is well- positioned to build a stronger future and achieve long-term success.”

PacSun filed for bankruptcy protection in April. At the time it had 593 stores. It has since closed about 10 locations and negotiated better rent deals for its stores with mall landlords. As of Sept. 7, 2016, the chain operates 583 stores in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

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REAL ESTATE

Target caters to the college crowd

BY CSA STAFF

Students at Boston University have a new, convenient shopping option.

Target Corp. has opened one of its smaller format stores adjacent to the West Campus section of the university, reported BU Today. Similar stores are set to open in the coming months near the University of Chicago and at Penn State.

The 16,000-sq.-ft. Boston store carries merchandise specifically geared toward college students, from food staples like ramen noodles to bedding and bath essentials.

“We offer a one-stop shop for those moving into either apartments or dorms,” store manager Mike Maher told BU Today. “For university stores, it’s all about low price point and apartment or dorm essentials — basic bedding, basic bath, and fresh groceries — all convenient to campus.”

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