OPERATIONS

Vera Bradley names Saks exec as executive VP, retail and wholesale sales

BY Staff Writer

Fort Wayne, Ind. — Vera Bradley announced that Karen Peters has been named executive VP, retail and wholesale sales.

Peters has 25 years of retail experience including multi-store management and merchandising. Between February 2005 and March 2014, she served as senior VP, director of stores for Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th. Prior to that, she held key management positions with Sears, Target, and Kohl’s.

In her new role with Vera Bradley, Peters will oversee the company’s full-line and factory outlet stores, the indirect channel (including the gift channel, the company’s department store relationships and other current and emerging indirect channels), store visual and store real estate. As key member of the executive team, she will be responsible for developing and executing strategies to drive revenue growth and improved business results.

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News

Anna’s Linens selects EarthLink managed network service, voice connectivity

BY Marianne Wilson

Atlanta — EarthLink Holdings Corp., a managed network and cloud services provider, announced that Anna’s Linens have selected the company to provide a comprehensive managed network solution and SIP Trunking for voice over IP for its more than three hundred stores and 3,200 employees.

To accommodate their rapid growth, increasingly centralized IT model, and need to run more applications, Anna’s IT leaders worked in collaboration with EarthLink partner Grauman Communications to transition to an EarthLink MPLS network and SIP Trunking.

EarthLink also prioritized their network traffic with class of service to ensure that voice and point-of-sale traffic take precedence.

"As a result of a more robust MPLS network from EarthLink, we have the security, reliability and bandwidth to run both our voice communications and critical in-store applications to support the growth of the business," said Joe Evango, director, technology services, Anna’s Linens. "Moving forward with EarthLink, we have quite a few future projects with the potential for significant additional cost savings."

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FINANCE

Dollar General Q1 profit edges up, but disappoints; opening 700 stores

BY Marianne Wilson

Goodlettsville, Tenn. — Dollar General Corp.’s first-quarter profit and sales missed Wall Street estimates as the retailer cited an “unfavorable’ winter, increased competition and economic challenges. The company said Tuesday its profit rose to $222.4 million, from $220.1 million year ago. The retailer also reiterated its plans to open 700 stores in fiscal 2014, and remodel, to varying degrees, another 900 existing locations.

Net sales rose to $4.52 billion, from $4.23 billion. Same-store sales rose 1.5% in the quarter.

Dollar General said sales trends began to improve in April and have continued to gain momentum.

“We are pleased to see that our merchandising strategies are gaining traction with a strengthening of sales in both consumables and non-consumables in our second quarter to date,” said Rick Dreiling, Dollar General’s chairman and CEO. “Looking ahead, we are confirming our sales and EPS guidance for the year, and we are confident that we have the right strategies to drive long-term shareholder value.”

The discounter expects to open 214 new stores in the first quarter. The company also reiterated its plans to open 700 new stores in the 2014 fiscal year and to remodel or relocate another 500. In addition, it plans to complete approximately 400 limited scope (“lifecycle”) remodels.

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