OPERATIONS

Ulta Beauty CEO named chief executive of Michaels Stores

BY Marianne Wilson

Irving, Texas — Michaels Stores has named Chuck Rubin as CEO and a member of the board of directors. Rubin is currently the president and CEO of Ulta Beauty.

Rubin will assume his new roles after a brief period of transition, at which time Michaels will discontinue the “Office of the Chief Executive Officer,” established on an interim basis in May 2012. Charles "Chuck" Sonsteby, a member of the Office of the CEO, will continue as Michaels’ CFO and chief administrative officer.

Rubin joined Ulta Beauty as COO in May 2010, assuming the position of president and CEO later that year as part of a planned CEO succession process. Prior to that he spent six years with Office Depot where he served as EVP and chief merchandise and marketing officer, rising to president North American Retail.

Matt Levin, managing director with Bain Capital Partners, LLC, and Peter Wallace, senior managing director with The Blackstone Group L.P., jointly commented: "Chuck Rubin is a proven leader in the retail industry with an impressive track record of success across a broad range of businesses and executive roles. We are thrilled to add an executive of his caliber to lead the company and its talented and deep management team. We also want to thank Lew Klessel of Bain Capital and Chuck Sonsteby for their dedication and work as members of the Office of the CEO, which has provided valuable leadership continuity for the company during this interim period."

Michaels Stores owns and operates 1,099 Michaels stores in 49 states and Canada, and 126 Aaron Brothers stores.

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NRF: Retail sales up slightly in January

BY CSA STAFF

WASHINGTON — Retail sales ticked up in January as consumers adjusted their spending in response to the increase in payroll taxes and rise in gasoline and energy prices. According to the National Retail Federation, January retail sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) increased 0.3% seasonally adjusted from December and increased 5.4% unadjusted year-over-year.

January retail sales, released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce, showed total retail and food services sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants) increased 0.1% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 4.7% adjusted year-over-year.

“With the return of healthy housing prices, stronger employment statistics combined with historic highs on Wall Street at the end of 2012 and 2013, consumers seem a bit more confident these days,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Even though retail sales were relatively modest in January, consumers seem to have adjusted accordingly to rising taxes and energy prices. Far from secure, consumer confidence continues to be shaky.”

Other findings from the January retail sales report include:

  • Clothing and clothing accessories stores’ sales decreased 0.3% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 5.9% unadjusted year-over-year.

  • Electronics and appliance stores’ sales increased 0.2% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 2.7% unadjusted year-over-year.

  • Furniture and home furnishing stores’ sales decreased 0.2% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 5.8% unadjusted year-over-year.

  • General merchandise stores’ sales increased 1.1% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and decreased 0.3% unadjusted year-over-year.

  • Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales increased 0.6% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 8.3% unadjusted year-over-year.

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Guns, ammo drive Cabela’s 12% Q4 comp

BY CSA STAFF

Strong sales of guns at ammunition at Cabela’s contributed to a 12% same store sales increased and enabled the company to report record sales and profits for the fourth quarter and full year.

"Every area of our company performed at very high levels in the fourth quarter," said Tommy Millner, Cabela’s CEO. "Sales and profit per square foot at our next-generation stores were 40% higher than our legacy stores. Comparable store sales, aided by a surge in firearms and ammunition, increased 12%, a new record, and our direct business grew 1.7%, the first increase in 11 quarters."

So substantial was the impact of firearms and ammunition sales, Millner said if the company had experienced a normal level of activity the fourth quarter comp increase would have been 5%. For the quarter, excluding firearms and ammunition, merchandise margin increased 60 basis points. Merchandise margin increased in each of the company’s 13 merchandise sub categories, including firearms and ammunition. Ongoing focus on Cabela’s branded products, improved markdown management and greater vendor collaboration contributed to the improvement. Consolidated merchandise gross margin declined 20 basis points as a direct result of the mix effect from the firearm and ammunition surge.

Total sales for the quarter increased 15.2% to slightly more than $1.1 billion and profits increased 19.7% to nearly $90 million. Retail stores were responsible for most of the growth. Retail store revenue increased 26.3% to $664 million, direct revenue increased 1.7% to $385.5 million and financial services revenue increased 7.2% to $83.2 million.

"During the quarter, we made significant additional omni-channel investments in advertising," Millner said. "These investments helped accelerate comparable store sales and growth in Direct revenue. This acceleration has continued into the first quarter of 2013. Additionally, we are very encouraged with increases in new customers as it further expands our market share and has a positive long-term impact on our consumer franchise."

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