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Big Lots promotes CFO

BY Vivian Gomez

COLUMBUS, OH — Big Lots has elevated CFO Timothy A. Johnson to EVP, CFO. Johnson has served as financial chief since 2012 with primary responsibility for all financial disciplines within the company including financial reporting and controls, treasury, risk management, tax, internal audit, financial planning and analysis and investor relations.

During the last several months, his role has expanded significantly to include responsibility for the company’s real estate strategy and administration along with the asset protection of its stores, distribution centers and offices. Johnson is a member of the executive leadership team and assists in charting the company’s strategic direction.

"Throughout my career, I have always found the key to success comes down to people, and TJ is a great example,” said CEO David Campisi. “He has been a trusted business partner to me during the last 10 months as we reposition our business, and he has been an invaluable contributor to Big Lots for well over a decade. TJ’s knowledge of retail operations and general business acumen have been crucial as we develop our strategic plan for the next three years. I am thrilled, and extremely proud, to announce a much deserved promotion."

Johnson will continue to report to Campisi.

News of Johnson’s promotion comes in conjunction with the company’s fourth-quarter results. Net sales for continuing U.S. operations for the quarter decreased 7.3% to $1.6 billion, compared to $1.7 billion for the fourth quarter last year. Comparable-store sales for U.S. stores open at least 15 months decreased 3% for the quarter.

Excluding the deferred tax benefit associated with the loss on the company’s investment in Canadian operations, adjusted income from continuing U.S. operations totaled $84 million, or $1.45 per diluted share for the quarter, which had 13 weeks. For the same period last year, which had an additional week, the company reported guidance of $1.40 to $1.55 per diluted share, and income from continuing U.S. operations of $119.9 million, or $2.08 per diluted share. The company estimates that the impact of the extra week last year was approximately $0.05 per diluted share.

Net loss for Canadian operations for the quarter totaled $27 million, or $0.47 per diluted share, which compares to the company’s guidance of a net loss of $0.65 to $0.75 per diluted share. The company explained that the favorable result in the fourth quarter resulted from higher sell-through of merchandise at better margins, lower operating expenses and the timing of recognition of lease liability charges and certain asset write downs.

Looking ahead, Big Lots forecasts first quarter income from continuing U.S. operations to be in the range of $0.40 to $0.45 per diluted share, compared to last year’s adjusted income from continuing U.S. operations of $0.70 per diluted share. This guidance assumes U.S. comparable-store sales are in a range of slightly positive to slightly negative.

The company anticipates a first-quarter loss as a result of its discontinued Canadian business, to be reported as discontinued operations beginning with the first quarter of fiscal 2014, in the range of $37 to $41 million, or $0.64 to $0.71 per diluted share. The estimate includes charges related to lease liabilities, severance and asset impairment.

 

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Air Wick teams up with well-known brands on new collection

BY DSN STAFF

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Reckitt Benckiser’s Air Wick is introducing a Familiar Favorites collection, which is inspired by the scents of such brands as Snuggle, Cinnabon and Baby Magic.

"Scent has the power to evoke a unique sense of comfort when you surround yourself with fragrances you know and love," said Domenick Tiziano, Senior Brand Manager, Reckitt Benckiser. "We’re thrilled to be partnering with three of America’s most recognizable and beloved brands for this new collection, so consumers can enjoy the comforting scents they love at home anytime."

The fragrances in the collection include:

  • Snuggle Fresh Linen, a unique blend of clean laundry and white flowers, which evokes the fresh linen scent from Snuggle;
  • Cinnabon Classic Cinnamon Roll, which features the aroma of Cinnabon’s freshly baked, cinnamon confections; and
  • Baby Magic Clean Baby, a clean scent featuring touches of baby powder and spring blossoms

The Familiar Favorites Collection, available now, retails for $3.75 to $5.99 and includes Air Wick Scented Oils and Air Wick Freshmatic Automatic Spray refills.

 

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Report: Data breach takes toll on Target’s shopper penetration

BY Antoinette Alexander

BOSTON — Target’s pre-Christmas database breach not only affected the retailer’s fourth-quarter same-store sales, but also contributed to plummeting shopper penetration post-holiday, according to a new report by Kantar Retail.

Kantar Retail ShopperScape data indicates that just 33% of U.S. households reported shopping at Target or SuperTarget during January, the lowest penetration number for Target in the past three years, and a 22% decrease in penetration versus January 2013. The overall trend in Target’s past four-week shopper penetration has been on a downward trajectory for the past several years.  

The retailer’s confirmation in mid-December of a major breach of its guests’ payment information proved a critical moment in exacerbating that decline, Kantar Retail stated.  

“In the wake of that news, Target failed to reach a December ‘bump’ in penetration of the same magnitude as it has enjoyed in recent years,” noted Rachel McGuire, Kantar Retail senior analyst and co-author of the report. “Our shopper data reflects the extent to which this issue continues to influence shopper behavior.”

The shift away from shopping at Target in January varied among key segments of guests, but was most significant among its core guests — Gen X (i.e., shoppers 32 to 49 years old), who are more likely than any other cohort to shop Target — as well as lower-income shoppers, who tend to shop Target at a lower rate in general but whose penetration at Target declined by a full 30% from January 2013 to January 2014.  

“Target is at a critical inflection point, as it strategizes how to win back the confidence of shoppers,” added Amy Koo, Kantar Retail senior analyst. “While the breach caused an immediate blow to sales and will affect traffic for some time to come, it also exposed the larger longstanding issue of Target’s fragile relationship with its less-engaged guests. While monthly guests demonstrated their commitment to Target since the breach, the same is not true for the less-engaged.”  


Kantar Retail stated that, for suppliers, it has never been more important to keep best guests pleased with Target’s assortment and experience, particularly Gen Y, moms and higher-income households, as they navigate the bumpy road ahead. And particular focusalso should be given to the less-engaged guests, Gen X and lower-income households.  

 

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