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Shopko Stores to merge with Pamida

BY Marianne Wilson

Green Bay, Wis. — Shopko Stores Operating Co. said Wednesday that Shopko and Pamida will merge to create one of the largest U.S. retailers focused on serving smaller and rural communities. The combined entity will have nearly 350 locations in 22 states and plans to accelerate new store growth in the second half of 2012 and beyond.

Financial details of the merger, expected to close in mid-February, were not disclosed. Both companies are owned by affilates of the private equity firm Sun Capital Partners.

The combined company will be based in Shopko’s home base of Green Bay, Wis., and will use the Shopko name. It will be led by Shopko president, chairman and CEO W. Paul Jones. Pamida president and CEO John Harlow will serve on the leadership team and help direct the integration process.

There will be no change to Shopko’s stores, and approximately $80 million will be invested over the next 12 months in the conversion of most of Pamida’s locations to the Shopko Hometown store concept and brand. Developed over the past three years, the Hometown format combines pharmacy services with general merchandise categories ranging from apparel to toys to electronics in s smaller-sized footprint that ranges from 15,000 to 35,000 sq. ft.

"Merging Pamida and Shopko is a great move for our businesses and our customers given our complementary strengths, store networks and consumer-centric retail models," said Jones. "The Shopko Hometown store format, featuring our unique merchandising strategy and improved store design, is an ideal fit for the smaller communities that Pamida serves with its exceptional service and community-minded approach. We intend to be the leader in this category by combining the best of Shopko and Pamida in our aggressive new store growth plans."

With annual revenues of $2 billion, Shopko operates 149 stores in 13 states located throughout the Midwest, Mountain and Pacific Northwest regions. Omaha, Neb.-based Pamida operates 193 stores in 17 states, primarily in the Mountain, North Central and Midwest regions, and has revenues of approximately $1 billion.

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The ‘tweeps’ have spoken: Wegman’s consumers want Baldwin back

BY CSA STAFF

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — In what might become an additional indicator as to the power consumers can wield across retail through social media outlets, Wegmans on Wednesday reinstated Alec Baldwin as the company’s spokesman.

Wegmans had pulled its Baldwin holiday advertising campaign in response to consumer complaints about Baldwin’s behavior on an American Airlines flight Dec. 6, a flight from which he was removed for refusing to turn his cell phone off.

However, after that decision to pull the Baldwin campaign went public, many more consumers tweeted Alec Baldwin’s way back into the spokesman’s catbird seat.

"We regret ending the Alec Baldwin holiday commercials one week earlier than planned in response to a couple of dozen complaints," stated Jo Natale, director of media relations at Wegmans. "Clearly, many more people support Alec, as evidenced by the hundreds and hundreds of tweets, emails and phone calls we have received. We enjoyed working with Alec Baldwin and his mom Carol, and would do it again. We appreciate all the kind things they have said about Wegmans and respect the good work they do for communities.”

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TJX shakes up leadership

BY CSA STAFF

FRAMINGHAM, Mass — TJX announced that it has moved some of its executives to new roles to better position the company for future growth. Michael MacMillan will assume leadership of the company’s European division as SVP TJX Europe, moving from his current post as head of The Marmaxx Group (the company’s largest division comprised of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls). Richard Sherr will return to The Marmaxx Group as Senior EVP, having most recently held the post of president HomeGoods.

Ernie Herrman continues as TJX president, a title he assumed in February 2011, and will continue to report to Carol Meyrowitz, CEO of The TJX Companies Inc. as will Jeffrey Naylor, senior EVP, chief financial and administrative officer. MacMillan will continue to report to Herrman in his new role as head of TJX Europe. Nan Stutz, senior EVP, group president, will also continue to report to Herrman. Stutz will continue to have responsibility for TJX Canada and HomeGoods. Richard Sherr, in his new role as senior EVP, The Marmaxx Group, will now report to Herrman. Further, senior EVP Jerome Rossi, whose responsibilities include real estate, logistics, procurement and e-commerce, will continue to report to Herrman.

Carol Meyrowitz, CEO of The TJX Companies Inc. stated, “I am extremely confident that these management changes are the right moves at the right time to position TJX to reach our vision of growing to a $40 billion Company. We have a seasoned TJX executive heading each of our four major businesses, The Marmaxx Group, HomeGoods, TJX Canada and TJX Europe, all reporting to Ernie Herrman, our president. Separately and collectively, this team, along with Jeff Naylor and Jerry Rossi, brings amazing talent, knowledge, and the ability to take TJX to our next level of successful growth and beyond.”

MacMillan will replace Paul Sweetenham, who served as senior EVP TJX Europe, since 2007 and has decided to leave the company. MacMillan became president of The Marmaxx group in 2008 and served as head of the group for the past year. Prior to his heading The Marmaxx Group, MacMillan served as president of TJX Canada from 2003 and before that, held the post of EVP merchandising for that division. Having joined T.J. Maxx in 1985, MacMillan has served in progressively senior roles in finance, systems, distribution and merchandising at T.J. Maxx, Winners and Marmaxx. These management changes will be effective for fiscal 2013.

Having joined T.J. Maxx as a buyer in 1992, Sherr has held progressively senior roles at Marmaxx, including Chief Merchant. He held the position of COO at Marmaxx from 2007 until 2010, when he was named president of HomeGoods.

Canestrari is being promoted to president HomeGoods, replacing Sherr in that role. Canestrari has been with The TJX Companies since 1997 and has served in progressively senior roles in finance and operations at The Marmaxx Group and at the corporate level. Most recently, since 2008, Canestrari held the post of COO at HomeGoods, working closely with Sherr. He will report to Nan Stutz, senior EVP, group president.

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