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Stein Mart taps tw telecom for advanced networking solution

BY Staff Writer

Jacksonville, Fla. — tw telecom, a provider of Business Ethernet and networking solutions announced it was selected by Stein Mart to provide Internet protocol virtual private network (IP VPN) service nationwide. The technology will allow Stein Mart to directly connect and securely pass data to its more than 270 stores and data centers nationwide.

"The flexibility, reliability, security and scalability of the IP VPN solution, as well as its ability to help us collect point of sale information were key drivers to us selecting tw telecom as our network services provider," said Mario Andrade, IT director, Stein Mart. "The company’s solution capabilities coupled with its strong customer service, 24×7 support and local account management team here in Jacksonville made this very important decision easier to make."

tw telecom worked closely with its systems integrator partner, Presidio, a provider of professional and managed services for advanced IT solutions, to provide an IPN VPN solution that is not only secure, but scalable and designed to grow with Stein Mart’s current business needs in terms of both easily adding locations and bandwidth.

The solution will allow Stein Mart to share knowledge and information across a multi-location environment, giving the company a competitive edge in the industry and maximizing employee productivity by providing the ability to collaborate, even when they are not physically housed in the same location.

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Tuesday Morning taps new marketing SVP

BY CSA STAFF

Tuesday Morning Corporation has named Susan H. Davidson as SVP of marketing. She succeeds Ross Manning, who has vacated the spot to “pursue other professional opportunities,” according to the company.

Davidson boasts a 30-year career in specialty retail, most recently as group VP for merchandising at Sally Beauty Supply, an international specialty retailer and distributor of professional beauty supplies with annual revenues of approximately $3.5 billion. She directed nationwide merchandising for stores and e-commerce and spearheaded initiatives that contributed to positive increases in same store sales.

Davidson also served as VP for marketing at Sally Beauty, where she focused on awareness and traffic driving programs, innovative customer loyalty initiatives, promotions and public relations, and managed all agency relationships.

"I am delighted to welcome Susan to our team of senior leaders that have a passionate commitment to the Tuesday Morning brand," said CEO Michael Rouleau. "Susan’s proven expertise in developing effective marketing programs, driving customer traffic, expanding comparable store sales, and strengthening the consumer bond will be important to our success as we implement the final phase of our turnaround effort and build an organization that is capable of sustained profitability and growth in the years ahead. I also want to thank Ross for 10 years of dedicated service to Tuesday Morning. He has been a valuable contributor, and we wish him well in his future endeavors."

Prior to her tenure at Sally Beauty, Davidson served as SVP for marketing (including merchandising and direct channel) for Things Remembered, one of the nation’s largest and most prominent retailers of personalized gifts. Earlier in her career, she served as president of Zale.com while concurrently directing efforts to improve customer service and enhance customer loyalty programs. Davidson was also previously president of Zale-owned Gordon’s Jewelers, where she spearheaded a comprehensive rebranding effort and significantly enhanced Gordon’s market presence.

Tuesday Morning also elevated Phillip D. Hixon, the company’s current VP of store planning to SVP of store operations, succeeding Don Mierzwa, who is retiring. His nearly 30-year career includes operations and store development positions for Petco, Duckwall-Alco Stores and Michaels Stores.

"Don’s significant contributions to the organization include tireless efforts to improve store operations as part of our overall turnaround effort," Rouleau added. "This work has established a solid foundation for us to build upon, and we are grateful for his service."

Tuesday Morning is a leading closeout retailer with 811 stores across the United States specializing in selling deeply discounted, upscale decorative home accessories, housewares, seasonal goods and famous-maker gifts.

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Sweets & Snacks Expo sees year-over-year growth

BY CSA STAFF

Sponsored by the National Confectioners Association, the 2014 Sweets & Snacks Expo hosted a sold out show at Chicago’s McCormick Place to an audience of more than 16,000 qualified industry professionals. The Expo, held May 20–22, is being touted as the confectionery and snack industry’s most successful, world-class event.

“For the fifth year in a row, the Expo saw exceptional growth in all areas,” commented NCA EVP Alison Bodor. “The 2014 show attracted the largest number of exhibitors we’ve ever had, including a record-breaking 167 first-time exhibitors. Our show sold out in January with a wait list of nearly 90 companies — the earliest sell-out ever. In a challenging economy this demonstrates our event provides vital business opportunities, insights, innovations and resources that the industry views as a priority and reason to attend.”

For the first time the Expo hosted more than 650 exhibitors of candy, snack and gourmet products from 23 countries with global industry participation from more than 90 countries. The sold-out Gourmet and Natural Marketplace has doubled in size in the last four years.

"The record-setting show floor square footage — 165,500 net sq. ft. — and number of exhibitors grew 5% over last year,” said Quinn. “Just when we thought we couldn’t get bigger, we did. We had 167 first-time exhibitors — showing how entrepreneurial our category is.”

In addition, nearly 6,000 pre-qualified candy and snack trade customers registered to attend, representing key distribution channels like grocery, convenience, and mass as well as niche and specialty outlets. The Expo is the only venue that represents all of the major U.S. distribution channels of candy and snack products in one location.

“Seen as a proven destination by more than 96 percent of past retailers surveyed, attendees recognize the Expo is a solid business value to not only stay on top of innovations and trends, but also to solidify existing partnerships while making new connections. NCA and the entire Expo team continue to exceed expectations creating a “WOW” experience that has helped us grow for the last five years,” Quinn added.

This year more than 280 products were submitted for NCA’s Most Innovative New Product Awards which recognize the hottest new confectionery and snack products on the market. Thought leaders including retail customers, food industry icons, trend experts, a retail dietician and celebrity chefs collaborated and taste-tested the entries to determine the top five items across nine category segments; then retailers determined the most popular item in each segment as well as an overall Best in Show product by voting on the first day of the show.

“The number of products submitted for this awards program were up almost 25% from the year prior, demonstrating the nimble innovation that happens in the candy and snack category,” said Tim Quinn, Expo chairman and VP of trade relations at Mars Chocolate North America. “New candy and snack items in 2013 alone were the leading source of growth for both categories which together delivered more than 20% of center store growth; our manufacturers know how important it is to meet the demands of the consumer through innovative and diverse products.”

Adding to the Expo’s value to both attendees and exhibitors, the New Product Showcase featured more than 315 showcases full of new products.

Among many highlights of the morning keynote sessions was NBC News chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman who praised the special place that candy holds in a balanced and healthy lifestyle, saying that it is a part of a global continuum that connects us all.

“If you try to deprive people of something, they’ll find a way to get it anyway and then gorge themselves on it. It’s rooted in our brains,” said Snyderman.

The 2015 Sweets & Snacks Expo will be held May 1–21 at Chicago’s McCormick Place. Even though the 2015 show floor has increased, it is already nearly 90% sold out.

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