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Scandinavian retail concept makes its way to London

BY Marianne Wilson

A Nordic lifestyle store has made its London debut.

Inspired by the hybrid café and retail concepts commonly found in Scandinavia, Blåbär features homeware and accessories from up and coming designers, vintage furniture and its own branded products all in a café environment serving Swedish foods and drinks.

The space is fully interactive and designed as a functional showroom. Almost every item, from the lighting and furniture to the cups and plates in the café is available for purchased. Many of the items are one-of-a-kind. By constantly renewing the range, the space becomes ever-evolving, the company stated.

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Loyalty, gas promotions lift Weis Markets in Q3

BY Gina Acosta

Regional grocery chain Weis Markets says its loyalty program and other promotions helped boost traffic in the third quarter as the company reported an increase in same-store sales.

For the period ended Sept. 26, sales increased 4.1% to $711.9 million while same-store sales increased 4%, compared to the third quarter in 2014. The company says it generated $12.8 million in net income, down 5.4%, compared to the same period in 2014. Third quarter earnings per share totaled 48 cents, compared to 50 cents in 2014.

The company issued a statement attributing its sales and same-store sales increases to disciplined promotions tied to its loyalty marketing program, which resonated with customers and the expansion of its gas rewards program. In the third quarter, it generated strong sales increases in produce, meat and the health and beauty care category. The company's sales also benefited from strong store level focus on customer service.

Founded in 1912, Weis Markets, Inc. is a Mid Atlantic food retailer operating 163 stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia.

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Hhgregg names interim CEO; vows to continue transformation

BY Mike Troy

Hhgregg CFO Robert Riesbeck is acting as interim CEO at the appliance, electronics and furniture retailer following the abrupt departure of longtime executive Dennis May.

May spent 17 years with the company and his departure follows what was a very challenging holiday season for the operator of 226 stores focused on appliances, electronics and furniture. Hhgregg’s sales declined 10.9% to $593 million and same-store sales declined 10.8% during the company’s third quarter ended Dec. 31, 2015. The company came up short of profit targets during the period with competitive pressures cited as the source of weakness.

Filling May’s role as CEO and president on an interim basis is CFO Robert Riesbeck. He joined the company in 2014 after serving as operations executive and group CFO at the private equity firm of Sun Capital Partners. Prior to Sun, Riesbeck was CFO of Marsh Supermarkets, CFO of CFO of American Golf Corporation and also previously held business-unit COO and CFO roles at Nike, Inc.

"The Hgregg team and I will be extremely focused on continuing with the execution of our transformation initiatives. I want to assure our employees, customers, vendors and shareholders that we will work together to achieve our company's growth and profitability goals," Riesbeck said.

The company did not indicate when or if it would commence a search for a successor to May whose departure from the company was effective immediately on Feb. 17. May had served as CEO since August 2009, as president and COO since January 2003 and executive VP and COO since he joined the company in 1999. May became a board member in February 2005.

May joined Hhgregg in connection with the company’s acquisition of store leases of Sun TV & Appliance, Inc. where he served as VP of marketing, executive VP and CEO.

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