OPERATIONS

Walgreens names ex-McDonald’s CEO as chairman

BY Staff Writer

Deerfield, Ill. — Walgreens said Thursday that it has named retired McDonald’s CEO James Skinner as its new non-executive chairman of the board.

Skinner has served on the Walgreens board since 2005. He will succeed Al McNally, who has been non-executive chairman since 2009.

Walgreens said the change "is consistent with its board of directors succession and rotational planning process."

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OPERATIONS

Retailer container traffic to see uptick in July

BY Staff Writer

Washington, D.C. — Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to increase 1.6% in July compared with the same month last year, and modest year-over-year increases are expected through the holiday season shipping cycle, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released Tuesday by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“Whether consumers are going to have the confidence to spend during the next few months depends on what happens with employment, but retailers are being cautiously optimistic,” said NRF VP supply chain and customs policy Jonathan Gold. “Sales can fluctuate from month to month, but these import numbers show that retailers are still expecting this year to be better than last year.”

U.S. ports followed by Global Port Tracker handled 1.34 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units in May, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was up 4.1% from April and 2.3% from May 2011. One TEU is one 20-ft. cargo container or its equivalent.

June remained at an estimated 1.34 million TEU, the same as May but up 4.7% from June 2011. July is forecast at 1.38 million TEU, up 1.6% from last year; August at 1.44 million TEU, up 6.2%; September at 1.45 million TEU, up 6.8%; October at 1.47 million TEU, up 12.6% over lower-than-usual numbers last year; and November at 1.3 million TEU, up 2%.

The first half of 2012 totaled an estimated 7.5 million TEU, up 2.6% from the same period last year. The total for 2011 was 15.1 million TEU, up 0.6% from 2010. NRF projects 2012 retail sales will grow 3.4% to $2.53 trillion.

Numbers in this month’s report reflect the addition of Miami to the list of ports covered.

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OPERATIONS

J.C. Penney cuts 350 jobs at headquarters

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — J.C. Penney Co. on Tuesday announced that it is eliminating approximately 350 positions at its headquarters in Plano, Texas, completing a reorganization of its corporate office that it said was designed to create a leaner and more simplified operating structure.

“The actions taken today mark the final phase of those efforts. We have simplified processes, removed unnecessary work and reduced layers to help us make better and faster decisions,” said CEO Ron Johnson. “While difficult, these decisions are in the long-term interests of jcp and our stakeholders.”

The department store chain said the cuts will contribute to its previously announced plan to reduce costs by $900 million annually by the end of 2012, one year ahead of time.

The cuts announced Tuesday follow the company’s move in April to eliminate 600 workers at its headquarters. J.C. Penney now has 3,100 workers at its headquarters, which represents a 29% from the 4,400 employees it had prior to the first round of layoffs this spring, according to the Associated Press.

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