Wal-Mart names new U.S. CEO as Eduardo Castro-Wright shifts to online
Bentonville, Ark. Wal-Mart Stores said Tuesday that its vice chairman Eduardo Castro-Wright is leaving his post as president and CEO of Walmart U.S. He has been appointed as president and CEO of the company’s global sourcing and global e-commerce unit. In a related move, the company said Walmart U.S. COO Bill Simon was promoted as head of Walmart U.S., reporting directly to CEO Mike Duke.
Simon will assume his new responsibilities immediately. Castro-Wright, who will continue to serve as vice chairman, will be transitioning through August 1.
Wal-Mart said the move will allow Castro-Wright to relocate to California to be with his family during his wife’s illness. The transition comes at a time when Walmart U.S. stores have faced slowing sales and traffic.
“As we continue to become a truly global company and address the business challenges of a rapidly changing world, it is clear that Global.com and Global Sourcing are critical to our future growth and success,” Duke said. “We are fortunate to have someone as strategic and knowledgeable as Eduardo leading the teams to drive these initiatives forward at a faster pace.”
Home goods looking good, for some
The success one retailer has in a given category can oftentimes be an indicator of a rising tide lifting all boats, which is why results last week from Bed Bath & Beyond are of particular interest to Target. The home goods specialist said first-quarter sales for the period ended May 29 increased 13.5% to $1.9 billion and same-store sales increased 8.4%. Earnings per share surged 53% to 52 cents a share.
Target is a major player in the home category, and last year it said the home furnishings and decor category accounted for 19% of total sales of $63.4 billion. As defined by Target, the category includes furniture, lighting, kitchenware, small appliances, home decor, bed and bath, home improvement, automotive and such seasonal merchandise sas patio furniture and holiday decor.
A strong performance by Bed Bath & Beyond is either an indication that the overall category is looking up, despite some significant ongoing difficulties in the housing market, or simply an example of a well-positioned superior operator gaining share from competitors, one of whom is possibly Target. The company has certainly had mixed things to say about the home category during the three month period that overlaps with Bed Bath & Beyond’s first quarter. For example, In May, comps in home were down slightly with a low single digit increase in the decorative home category and softness in housewares. In April, comps were moderately better than the total company decline of 5.9% and were led by a low single digit increase in the decorative home category with the softest performance in seasonal categories. In March, comps in home increased in the mid-to-upper single-digit range with the strongest results in the seasonal categories and weaker performance in housewares.
Former Ace director dies at 89
Gregg Ziegler, the past director and vice chairman of Ace Hardware Corp.’s board of directors, was laid to rest last week. He was 89.
The World War II veteran joined the family business, Ziegler’s Ace Hardware, after graduating from college in 1947. He was the recipient of the 1983 Illinois Retail Merchants Association’s Retailer of the Year. Today, Ziegler’s Ace operates 11 locations in Illinois.
According to his obituary in the Chicago Tribune, Ziegler was also an accomplished driver who set the NASCAR record for the Flying Mile event at Daytona Beach in 1960.