Fernando Madeira (left) and Joel Anderson
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Walmart U.S. e-commerce names new head as Joel Anderson leaves for Five Below

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Joel Anderson, president and chief executive officer of Walmart.com., has left the online giant to assume the role of president at Five Below, which targets pre-teens and teens with trendy, extreme-value merchandise priced at $5 and below. Walmart has appointed Fernando Madeira, CEO of Walmart.com’s Latin America unit, as the new head of Walmart.com. He will relocate from Sao Paulo, Brazil, to San Bruno, California, where Wal-Mart’s global e-commerce operation is based.

Wal-Mart’s global online sales crossed the $10 billion threshold last fiscal year, and the discounter expects them to reach $13 billion in its current fiscal year.

Madeira, who will report to Neil Ashe, president and CEO of Walmart Global eCommerce, has driven impressive online sales at Wal-Mart’s Latin American e-commerce site by offering a broader assortment and improving fulfillment, the company said.

“We’ve seen Brazil grow twice as fast as the market, while increasing traffic fourfold," Neil Ashe, Wal-Mart’s CEO of global e-commerce, said in a memo. "In other markets, they’ve leveraged sales and marketing efforts, driving triple-digit growth in Argentina, Chile and Mexico."

In his new role at Five Below, Anderson will lead all aspects of merchandising, stores and marketing. He will join the company in July.

"We have been actively engaged in a search for the right candidate to fill the role of president and we are incredibly excited to have someone with Joel’s talent and extensive experience joining the Five Below team," said Tom Vellios, CEO, Five Below, Philadelphia.

Anderson spent three years as president and CEO of Walmart.com. Prior to that spent four years in senior operations roles at the company. He also spent 12 years at Toys "R" Us, in various roles and activities including marketing, online, new ventures and operations.

"I see an enormous opportunity ahead to build on the company’s solid foundation as we expand the reach of the Five Below brand and continue to elevate how we market, merchandise and connect with our customers,” Anderson said.

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RadioShack touts progress as results deteriorate

BY CSA STAFF

RadioShack is making progress on its turnaround, according to CEO Joe Magnacca, even if it wasn’t readily apparent in first quarter results the company reported on June 10.

Same-store sales declined 14% due weak customer traffic and softness in the mobile business. Total sales fell to $736.7 million in the quarter ended May 3, from $848.4 million the prior year. The sales decline caused the company’s operating loss to swell to $81 million from $10.3 million the prior year. The company reported a loss from continuing operations of $98.3 million, or 97 cents a share, compared to a loss of $23.3 million the prior year.

"Overall, our first quarter performance was challenged by an industry-wide decline in consumer electronics and a soft mobility market which impacted traffic trends throughout the quarter,” Magnacca said. “In particular, our mobility business was weak due to lackluster consumer interest in the current handset assortment and increased promotional activities across the industry including the wireless carriers. This resulted in disappointing sales and gross margin performance."

Gross margins contracted to 36.5% of net sales from 40.2% of net sales due in part to aggressive price competition in the mobile business, according to the company. Conversely, expenses increased to 45.6% of sales from 39.3%.

Despite the challenging results, Magnacca said RadioShack was making progress on its turnaround strategy and he pointed to efforts to build a pipeline of new products that will bring differentiation and newness to stores in the form of high-margin private brands and exclusive items. The company also recently launched RadioShack Labs, a collaboration with PCH International to support inventors and startups that is designed to feed the retailer a stream of new products. The company is also experimenting with an in store cell phone repair service at nearly 300 locations.

"Our concept stores continue to drive strong sales growth, and we have begun to execute our 100 store remodel program to scale the successful components of our concept stores across our network,” Magnacca said. “We have continued to drive our new ‘Do It Together’ brand campaign, which highlights one of our greatest strengths, our store associates and the knowledge and solutions they provide to our customers every day."

Meanwhile, he said the company was focused on reducing costs, particularly those which don’t impact the customer experience, and had reduced corporate headcount, reduced discretionary expenses and was leveraging technology.

“Our entire team is focused on executing our vision, adapting to the environment, managing our balance sheet, and driving sustainable change,” Magnacca said.

The company ended the quarter with total liquidity of $423.7 million which consisted of $61.8 million in cash and cash equivalents and $361.9 million of availability under its credit agreement. Total debt was $614.5 million.

RadioShack’s store base consists of 4,250 company-operated stores in the United States, 258 company-operated stores in Mexico and approximately 912 dealer and other outlets worldwide.

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Sycamore Partners to relaunch Coldwater Creek brand as independent company

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Sycamore Partners announced Monday that it bought the going-out-of-business Coldwater Creek brand and other intellectual property through an affiliate company during the apparel chain’s bankruptcy proceedings. The private equity firm said it plans to re-launch Coldwater Creek as an independent portfolio company, but it did not give a timeline for the launch.

Terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed.

"Coldwater Creek is an outstanding brand with a 30-year heritage and strong support from its loyal base of longtime customers," said Peter Morrow, a managing director of Sycamore Partners. "We are excited about adding Coldwater Creek to our growing portfolio of leading retail brands and look forward to reintroducing the brand to the marketplace."

Sycamore’s investment portfolio currently includes Aeropostale, Coldwater Creek, Hot Topic, Jones New York, the Kasper Group, Kurt Geiger, MGF Sourcing, Nine West Holdings, Pathlight Capital, Stuart Weitzman and Talbots.

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