OPERATIONS

Zale swings to profit in Q3; names former CEO of Signet as chairman

BY Marianne Wilson

Dallas — Zale Corp. on Wednesday reported net income of $5.1 million for the third quarter, compared with a loss of $4.5 million in the year-ago period. The company also named Terry Burman as a director and as chairman of the board. Burman is the former CEO of Signet Jewelers Ltd., parent of Zale’s biggest rival, Kay Jewelers.

John Lowe Jr., Zales’ chairman for the past five years, will remain on the board.

Revenue for the third quarter, ended April 30, came in at $442.7 million, topping the Street estimates of $440 million.

Same-store sales increased 1.4%, with a 3% rise at Zales Jewelers and Zales Outlet stores. It was the company’s tenth straight quarter of same-store sales gains.

“We delivered strong results in March and April after a slow start to the quarter in February, which resulted in our tenth consecutive quarter of positive comps,” commented Theo Killion, CEO.

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Kohl’s names Starbucks’ exec chief customer officer

BY Staff Writer

Menomonee Falls, Wis. — Kohl’s has appointed Starbucks executive Michelle Gass to the newly created position of chief customer officer. She will report directly to Kohl’s chairman, president and CEO Kevin Mansell.

Gass, who joins Kohl’s on June 17, will have leadership responsibility for Kohl’s branding across all channels. She will oversee all marketing efforts, the company’s high growth e-commerce business on Kohls.com and the customer’s total omnichannel experience.

“I am extremely pleased Michelle is joining the Kohl’s leadership team,” said Mansell. “She comes to us with a track record of success and the experience, skills and imagination to lead and accelerate Kohl’s omnichannel efforts, as well as develop new strategies to move our consumer engagement in new directions. I fully expect this to be the start of an exciting journey to drive new growth for the company across all of our business areas.”

Prior to joining Kohl’s, Gass spent more than 16 years with Starbucks in a variety of senior leadership roles, including global strategy, marketing and category management. Most recently, Gass was president of Starbucks Europe, Middle East and Africa, overseeing and growing company and licensed operations across 36 markets and 1,900 stores. During her tenure with the company, Gass played a key role in working with the senior team in creating the company’s overall strategic blueprint, and most notably the transformation efforts of 2008-2009. She has led many key initiatives at Starbucks including the development of the Frappuccino blended beverage platform, the reinvention of Seattle’s Best Coffee, the launch of Starbucks VIA Ready Brew, Starbucks entry into warm breakfast and the introduction of the company’s customer loyalty and social media platforms. Before Starbucks, Gass worked in marketing and new product development with Procter & Gamble.

"I am thrilled to be joining the team at Kohl’s at this pivotal time in the retail industry,” said Gass. “How people shop and consume media is going through a change unlike any time before. I am delighted to help shape how Kohl’s will evolve its already strong brand to be even more compelling to today’s customers."

Kohl’s operates 1,155 stores in 49 states.

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Target tests video streaming service

BY Staff Writer

Minneapolis – Target Corp. is testing a video streaming service with internal employees. Called Target Ticket beta, the service features 15,000 movies and TV shows for digital download.

The service, which is password-protected, presumably is designed to compete with Netflix and Hulu, among other digital video platforms.

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