FINANCE

Stein Mart to open 10 stores

BY Dan Berthiaume

Jacksonville, Fla. – Stein Mart Inc. reported drops in net income and sales during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013, which it mainly attributed to the year-ago period having one extra week. The retailer remains optimistic as it plans to open 10 new stores and six relocated stores in fiscal 2014.

Fourth quarter net income dropped 42% to $7.4 million from $13.1 million compared to the same period in the prior year, while total sale declined 2% to $360.8 million from $368.6 million. In one bright note, same-store sales grew 3.1%.

Of Stein Mart’s 10 new stores, three stores will open in the spring, one in March and two in May. Seven stores will open in the fall, six in October and one in November. Two store closings were completed in February.

For the year, net income was $25.6 million, 2% higher than $25 million in the prior year. Total sales rose 2% to $1.26 billion, from $1.23 billion. Same-store sales increased 3.1%.

"I am very pleased with our exceptional results this year. We improved our business in 2013 through a number of key initiatives, including enhancing our merchandise and brands, launching our online store, more effective marketing, taking our supply chain distribution centers in-house and growing our credit card program," said Jay Stein, CEO. "For 2014, we will continue to build upon these achievements, while initiating our most aggressive store opening plan in more than 10 years with 16 new and relocated stores, to even better serve our customers and grow returns for our investors."

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OPERATIONS

Tractor Supply names former Ulta Beauty and Sears Holdings exec as CIO

BY Marianne Wilson

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. — Tractor Supply Co., the largest rural lifestyle retail store chain in the United States, announced that Robert D. Mills has joined the company as senior VP and CIO, succeeding James Callison, who is retiring. As part of the succession plan, Callison will stay with Tractor Supply until a smooth transition is completed.

Prior to joining Tractor Supply, Mills was the CIO for Ulta Beauty. From 2005 to 2011, he was VP, CIO for the online business unit at Sears Holdings Corporation, where he began as an information technology customer relationship leader in 2001.

Greg Sandfort, president and CEO, stated, "We are very pleased to welcome Rob to the Tractor Supply team. Information technology continues to be an important area of both investment and opportunity for our company. Rob’s extensive retail experience in strategic technology planning, e-commerce, and operations leadership qualify him as the ideal fit to lead the continued development of our technology systems and platform. Additionally, we would like to thank James Callison for his years of service and dedication to Tractor Supply and his assistance through the transition."

Tractor Supply operates 1,276 stores in 48 states.

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REAL ESTATE

Disney-inspired Starbucks opens at Downtown Disney

BY Marianne Wilson

Seattle — Starbucks has opened up its first company-operated store on a Disney property, at Downtown Disney in Anaheim, Calif. The 5,600-sq.-ft. store is the first of several company-operated locations that are scheduled open across Disney properties in the United States.

The new Downtown Disney location brings one of Starbucks most engaging experiences to customers with technology and content designed specifically for the store. This includes introducing customers to the Starbucks story via a 10-ft. video installation that shows images of places where Starbucks grows and harvests its coffee beans.

The location also features a first-of-its-kind interactive digital chalkboard that customers, including children, can draw and write on. The touch-screen acts like a mirror. When a customer sits in front of it, his or her image is projected on the screen as a chalk painting.

“The store’s coffee passion wall video is rendered to look like an animated painting or drawing,” said Bill Sleeth, Starbucks’ VP of design for the Americas. “That handcrafted look is a reflection of the handcrafted beverages we serve every day around the world. Disney and Starbucks challenged each other and the result is a beautiful, unexpected gathering place.”

The new store, built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards, was built reclaimed wood siding. It also boasts an outdoor patio designed around a large tree. A living, green wall with more than 1,000 native plants in the shape of a coffee cup serves as a backdrop.

“This store is a reflection of two iconic brands coming together to offer their customers the kind of high quality experience they expect in a way that embodies the unique passion of each,” said Arthur Rubinfeld, chief creative officer and president, global innovation for Starbucks. “Collaborating with Disney offered us the opportunity to create a unique moment of connection for our customers in a way that evokes the magic that their guests expect.”

During the next year, Starbucks and Disney will 0pen five more Starbucks operated-stores, including, two Starbucks-operated locations at Downtown Disney at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

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