FINANCE

Starbucks to outsource call center

BY CSA STAFF

Seattle Starbucks Corp. said Thursday it plans to close a 130-worker call center at its Seattle headquarters, using an outside company in Albuquerque, N.M., to handle customer feedback. Nashville, Tenn.-based Sitel will then take calls for Starbucks at Sitel’s Albuquerque operation.

The company said that the move will be completed by September, affecting 78 Starbucks employees and 52 contract workers in Seattle.

Starbucks spokeswoman Stacey Krum characterized the change as an effort to better manage feedback, rather than a cost-cutting move. The Seattle company did not disclose details of its arrangement with Sitel.

Krum says the company hopes to find jobs for the affected employees elsewhere at Starbucks. If they are laid off, they will receive severance pay and help in finding another job.

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Zale shakes up management

BY CSA STAFF

DALLAS Zale announced that Neal Goldberg, CEO and member of the board of directors, William Acevedo, chief stores officer, and Mary Kwan, chief merchandising officer, have left the company effective immediately. The board of directors has appointed Theo Killion, president, to the additional role of interim CEO.

Killion joined Zale in January 2008 as EVP and was appointed president in August 2008. Previously, Killion held senior management positions at Tommy Hilfiger, Limited Brands, Macy’s East and the Home Shopping Network. HE will assume initial responsibility for all store operations.

 

In addition, Zale also announced that Gil Hollander, EVP and chief sourcing and supply chain officer, has assumed the additional role of chief merchandising officer. This change will bring all aspects of diamond sourcing and merchandising under Hollander’s oversight. He has over 35 years of experience in the jewelry industry, joined Zale in September 2000 with the acquisition of Piercing Pagoda and has served in various senior management positions with the company.

“Our board is determined to do all in its power to put in place effective leadership to help return the company to profitability. At the same time, these management changes will help facilitate renewed focus on Zale’s core diamond business. We are fortunate to have executives with Theo Killion’s and Gil Hollander’s experience to assume greater leadership responsibilities as we refocus on our core strengths,” said John Lowe, Jr., chairman of Zale.

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Home Depot steps up software

BY CSA STAFF

New York City

In a deal announced at the National Retail Federation trade show here, Home Depot will transition to Fujitsu U-Scan self-checkout software, making it easier for the retailer to make upgrades to its point-of-sale system.

The new software is described by Fujitsu as an “open integration architecture utilizing a unique virtual point-of-sale like messaging framework.”

Home Depot’s Cara Kinzey, senior VP IT store, field and corporate support, explained in a prepared statement that the focus of the company’s IT efforts is to improve the shopping experience. “Fujitsu U-Scan self-checkout software will help us accelerate delivery of business-critical POS software changes to our stores,” she said. “Taking advantage of the U-Scan self-checkout software architecture’s flexibility means that we can better respond to changing business conditions, making us more efficient, competitive and responsive to customer needs.”

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