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Jenkins retires from Publix, Crenshaw takes over as chief executive officer

BY Michael Johnsen

LAKELAND, Fla. Former Publix chief executive officer Charlie Jenkins, Jr., officially retired last week, ceding the role of chief executive officer to Publix president Ed Crenshaw and accepting the position of chairman of the company. Former senior vice president of product business development, Todd Jones, was named president of the company.

All executives have had long careers with Publix.

Jenkins, nephew of Publix founder George W. Jenkins, Jr., began his career in 1969 as the assistant to the vice president of real estate. In 1974, he became vice president of real estate and was elected to serve on the board of directors. He was promoted to executive vice president in 1988. Jenkins became chairman of the executive committee in 1990 and chief operating officer in 2000. He was named chief executive officer in 2001.

Crenshaw, a cousin of Jenkins, began his Publix career in 1974 as a front-service clerk in Lake Wales, Fla. After working in a variety of retail and support positions, he was promoted to director of retail operations for the Lakeland Division in 1984. In 1990, he became vice president of the Lakeland Division and was elected to the board of directors. In 1991, Crenshaw moved to Atlanta to start the Publix Atlanta Division as division vice president. He was promoted to executive vice president of retailing in 1994 and to president in 1996.

Jones began his career in 1980 as a front-service clerk in New Smyrna Beach, Fla. He worked in a variety of store positions before becoming a store manager in 1988. He was promoted to district manager in 1997, regional director in 1999 and vice president of the Jacksonville Division in 2003. In 2005, Jones was promoted to senior vice president of product business development.

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Tesco puts brakes on expansion

BY Doug Desjardins

RIVERSIDE, Calif. Saying it needs to give its rapidly growing business time to “settle down,” Tesco has put a 90-day hold on expansion of its Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets.

“We’ve given ourselves a little time to kick the tires, smooth out any wrinkles and make some improvements that customers have asked for,” said Tesco U.S. marketing director Simon Uwins in an online posting. “Quite simply, to allow the business we’ve created to settle down.” He noted that Tesco opened 31 stores during a 66-day period this year in what he described as “an opening program on steroids.”       

Tesco has opened more than 50 stores since debuting in the Los Angeles area Dec. 7 and has expanded into Arizona and Nevada. It initially planned to open 200 stores by the end of 2009, though it’s not clear whether the break in expansion will change that projection.

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Fred’s releases Q4 figures, announces multi-year strategic plan

BY Michael Johnsen

MEMPHIS, Tenn. Fred’s on Thursday cited the underperformance of 22 pharmacies and 75 stores as significant contributors to a net loss of $4.4 million, or $0.11 per diluted share.

Fred’s total sales for its fiscal year ending Feb. 2 were up 1 percent to $1.8 billion. Comparable store sales increased 0.3 percent.

“Although the fourth quarter, before considering restructuring charges, met our revised plan, it was nevertheless disappointing,” commented Michael Hayes, Fred’s chief executive officer. “The rapid changes in discretionary income for our customer base made us face some very tough decisions.”

Short-term, Fred’s to enhance Fred’s operating and financial performance through store and merchandise refresher programs, tightened inventory disciplines, and improvements to in-stock levels on the chain’s most popular items, Hayes said, a strategy that has already netted tangible results. “For long-term benefits, we are implementing a multi-year strategic plan that involves a stronger focus on operational execution at our best-performing stores and pharmacies,” Hayes said.

In the fourth quarter, Fred’s opened nine stores, closed one store, and opened two pharmacies, bringing the totals for the year to 35 store openings, 20 closed stores, 11 pharmacy openings and four pharmacy closings. 

Fred’s expects to open 18 stores and 15 pharmacies in 2008 and close the 75 underperforming stores and 22 pharmacies during the coming year.

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