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  • INDUSTRY NEWS

    • On July 22, 2016, it was reported, Marvin Ellison, J.C. Penney's CEO, will become chairman of the company on Aug. 1, succeeding Myron (Mike) Ullman III, who will retire on that date. Ellison, formerly executive vice president of U.S. stores at Home Depot, joined J.C. Penney as president in November 2014. On Aug. 1 of last year, he succeeded Ullman as CEO as part of a transition plan formulated by the retailer at the time of his hiring. During Ellison's tenure as CEO, J.C. Penney's financial performance has shown some improvement. He has made home one of the centerpiece departments in his efforts to turn around the retailer's business, and in recent financial quarters, home has been one of J.C. Penney's best-performing departments.
    • On July 20, 2016, it was reported, Target has decided to open more small stores at a time when its major competitor has backed away from that concept. The retailer plans to launch 14 smaller-format locations in 2016, building upon the 20 it already has. These stores will generally be located in city environments where one of Target's traditional 100,000-square-foot locations wouldn't fit, but a store with a footprint in the 20,000-square-foot range and a targeted selection of merchandise could fill a need.
    • On July 19, 2016, it was reported, Versa Capital Management has formed a new holding company, called Eastern Outfitters, which will continue the restructured operations of Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) and Bob's Stores. The news comes several months after Vestis Retail Group LLC, an entity of Versa that operated Bob's, EMS and Sport Chalet, filed for Chapter 11. The company subsequently shut down Sport Chalet. EMS and Bob's will now operate as business units of Eastern Outfitters, which will have over $400 million in annual revenue and be headquartered in Meriden, Connecticut. The company will be under the leadership of Mark Walsh, who served as CEO of Vestis and will now hold the same title at Eastern Outfitters. Based in Philadelphia, Versa Capital Management is a private equity investment firm with more than $1.4 billion of assets. Other retailers in Versa's portfolio include Avenue Stores, The Wet Seal and western restaurant chain Black Angus Steakhouses.
    • On July 18, 2016, it was reported, off-price chain Ross Stores' 2016 expansion plans are in full swing as the company is opening of 24 Ross Dress for Less and seven dd's Discounts stores across 15 different states this summer. The grand plan calls for the addition of approximately 70 Ross and 20 dd's locations by end of the fiscal year. The company currently operates 1,317 Ross Dress for Less locations in 34 states, the District of Columbia and Guam, and 185 dd's DISCOUNTS in 15 states.