OPERATIONS

Target buys two online kitchenware chains

BY Marianne Wilson

Minneapolis — Target Corp. has made two e-commerce acquisitions aimed at expanding its presence in the growing cooking and kitchenware market. The retailer said it has acquired CHEFS Catalog and assets of Cooking.com in two separate transactions.

Following the closings, the two businesses will be combined to create a new, wholly owned subsidiary of Target. Both brands will continue to operate under their current names. Target believes these transactions present a strategic growth opportunity; however, there will not be any meaningful financial impact to its 2013 results.

“We are excited to bring CHEFS and Cooking.com into the Target family,” said Casey Carl, president of multichannel and SVP, enterprise strategy, Target. “We know consumers are increasingly looking online for cooking solutions to make their lives easier – from utensils and cookware, to recipes. These strategic transactions provide us a great way to address this growing opportunity and will offer expanded online options for our guests.”

Tim Littleton, president and chief executive of CHEFS, will be president of the wholly owned subsidiary and will report to Carl. Tracy Randall, chief executive and co-founder of Cooking.com, will become a consultant to Target.

Both transactions are expected to close within 30 days. Financial terms are not being disclosed.

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FINANCE

Kirkland’s CEO to retire; Q4 results tops Street

BY Staff Writer

Nashville, Tenn. — Kirkland’s announced that Robert Alderson, the home decor retailer’s long-time president and CEO, intends to retire at the end of fiscal 2013, or approximately Feb. 1, 2014.

In November, Kirkland’s said that Alderson was taking a temporary medical leave of absence for six to eight weeks for a non-emergency medical procedure. Mike Madden, Kirkland’s SVP and CFO, served as acting president and CEO during that time.

"Over the past five years, we’ve restored Kirkland’s stability and significantly enhanced its profitability," Alderson said We’ve also completed a huge amount of foundational work in systems, e-commerce, marketing, merchandising process, real estate and store operations. Over the course of the year, we will continue to work on substantially upgrading our merchandising talent and leadership. I have enjoyed the last 27 years at Kirkland’s, but now is the right time to begin recasting the leadership.”

The announcement came as the company reported that its net income dropped 6% amid rising operating expenses. The results beat Wall Street estimates but its first-quarter outlook was below what analysts had expected.

For the period ended Feb. 2, Kirkland’s earned $14.3 million, compared with $15.2 million a year earlier.

Revenue rose 9% to $162.9 million from $149.1 million, helped by an extra week in the period. Same-store sales fell 2.6%.

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buangsila001 says:
Mar-28-2013 09:33 am

Kirkland's consists of 300
Kirkland's consists of 300 stores in 30 states. It sells home decor, specializing in furnishings, accessories and gifts. - Michael Courouleau

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SUPPLY CHAIN

Is Operational Excellence Possible in the Omnichannel-Fueled Global Supply Chain?

BY CSA STAFF

By Greg Kefer, [email protected]

The latest study on the risk posed by supply chain disruptions by Deloitte just hit the news. Executives were surveyed regarding feelings (or fears) about their exposure to unexpected events in their global supply chains. As you can imagine, most feel unprepared and report disruptions have become more costly. Negative outcomes in the global supply chain like costly margin erosion and demand change are all too common for most companies.

We see a report like this about once per quarter. Here are links to two recent reports that highlight supply chain risk and disruption anxiety among executives:

Part of the problem is that supply chains have gotten longer and more complex as companies expand sourcing and selling in new regions around the world. At the same time, there’s a constant push to outsource production while simultaneously running as lean as possible.

We all heard about what the Japan disaster did to the automotive and high tech industries. Supply chains were disrupted to a point where companies couldn’t meet demand; they lost sales and ultimately missed their profit goals for many subsequent quarters. In fact, Toyota was knocked off its perch as the world’s number on automaker until just recently.

For every large-scale natural disaster, there are also countless “small” disruptions that can inflect equal amounts of damage to a company or an entire industry. Few of us heard about an event in March of 2012, where an explosion in a factory in Evonik, Germany affected half of worldwide supplies for a resin that was essential to auto parts suppliers. It caused a small slowdown in auto production which, for an industry of that size, is very significant considering it was caused by a single factory fire.

For retailers, the notion of an evolving inventory mix supported by a global sourcing model is not new. However, when you factor in the push to open new stores in emerging economies in the era of omni-channel, the supply-demand matrix looks especially daunting. It’s not a matter of if retailers should expand into new markets or become omni-channel black belts, it’s how fast it can be done. It’s a matter of long term survival.

Most companies know that the hard-wired, rigid supply chains of the past are not capable of supporting the 21st century global commerce model. Agility is far from a new concept and few companies have really mastered it, but the ability to adapt quickly to disruptions and opportunities is critical.

The path to operational agility has not yet been forged. Lots of companies are investing in technology to get them there, but most are making a fundamental IT mistake. They’re trying to solve the agility challenge with the same business software they have been using for the past 30 years. Unfortunately, traditional business software systems come up short when it comes to supply chain orchestration on a global scale. Those systems were designed to work within the single company, not between the different companies and partners, which make up a global supply chain.

Tomorrow’s operationally excellent companies will operate as networks in-step with their global army of partners. The key driver is supply chain visibility. Companies must be able to see inventory and information in real time across their supply chain networks. And partners must be able to see the same information.

The connection between operational agility and visibility is one reason why supply chain visibility resides near the top of most of the technology priority lists. And the reason it has been on the wish list for so long is because most companies have not yet achieved it. The notion of a central supply chain information monitoring system that connects networks to a single version of truth is far from reality at the majority of companies.

Visibility is predicated on a steady diet of rich, timely information into the status of inventory, production, payments, logistics and shipments. This is not achieved by hooking up an ERP system to an EDI network because the rate of change is too great for those hard-wired networks to keep up. Companies do not have the time to rebuild their networks every time they change a partner or move to a new region.

Cloud visibility platforms that are designed for inter-company network collaboration and information operate more like shared utilities, where partners can turned on or off depending specific needs. We are beginning to see published examples of these cloud systems at many companies across industries, including leaders like Pfizer, CAT, Adidas and Nestle. These are multi-enterprise systems that mirror a LinkedIn or Facebook model. They have advanced software capabilities that are Web-based, but the real value is the networks that are part of the offering.

The key advantage with cloud platforms is their networks are many-to-many, which means once a partner joins, they can work with multiple customers through that same connection. And, as new enterprises join, they find many of their key partners already active on the platform. So rather than starting from scratch every time, the platform is more like an industry information utility.

It’s hard to predict disruptions, but when they happen, success is measured in terms of how quickly and effectively a company responds. If you can’t see, you can’t make smart decisions. And for retailers who are trying to make their supply chains capable of supporting new omni-channel strategies, the notion of a single pool of inventory is going to be hard to master unless there is a single informational version available for all to see. That can be found in the cloud through the device of choice.

The risks are out there, but so are the rewards.

Greg Kefer is VP corporate marketing for GT Nexus, operator of the world’s largest cloud-based supply chain platform. Contact him at [email protected]. Learn more at GTnexus.com.


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buangsila001 says:
Mar-23-2013 11:16 pm

When you engaged yourselves
When you engaged yourselves in business planning and wants to make sure that everything is done well, inventory is one solution. Inventory can be done best once a year. - Rich Von Alvensleben

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