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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Amazon increasing price of Prime subscription service

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Amazon is increasing the annual membership of its Amazon Prime service from $79 a year to $99. The online giant, which made the announcement on its homepage, had suggested last year that increased shipping costs would force it to raise the annual price of its premium membership.

The price hike takes effective in seven says. Until then, customers can still sign up for the $79 rate. The increased fee will be charged when users renew their Prime memberships.

The service gives members access to unlimited free two-day shipping on many items, plus access to thousands of streaming movies and TV shows through Amazon Instant Video, a service similar to Netflix.

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Survey: Morale top retail staffing challenge

BY Dan Berthiaume

Chicago – Morale is the biggest challenge facing retailers trying to fill and maintain their staffs. According to a new survey of 168 retail staffing managers and HR executives conducted by Harris Poll for CareerBuilder and WorkInRetail.com, 37% of respondents cited lifting employee morale as a challenge.

The following are the top 10 staffing challenges faced by retail hiring managers:

1. Lifting employee morale – 37%
2. Retaining top talent – 36%
3. Maintaining productivity levels – 29%
4. Recruiting high skill applicants – 29%
5. Providing competitive compensation – 27%
6. Worker burnout – 26%
7. Providing competitive benefits – 23%
8. Employee engagement – 20%
9. Cutting down on cost-per-hire – 16%
10. Cutting down on time to hire – 15%

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