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  • INDUSTRY NEWS

    • On July 22, 2019, it was reported, J.C. Penney is mulling debt restructuring with the help of financial advisers, Reuters reported on Thursday, citing unnamed sources. Any move would be designed to keep the struggling department store on track in its long-running turnaround and to avoid bankruptcy, according to the report. The department store is heaped with long-term debt of $3.8 billion and quarterly interest expenses of $73 million, as of the first quarter, and was downgraded by Moody's at the end of May
    • On July 22, 2019, Wayfair announced the retirement of two senior executives who have served the company for more than a decade. James Savarese, chief operating officer, and John Mulliken, chief technology officer, will both retire from the company this year. "James and John have both served as exceptional leaders over a period of tremendous growth for the company," said Niraj Shah, CEO, co-founder and co-chairman, Wayfair. "We are deeply grateful for their many contributions. They leave behind strong teams and have well positioned Wayfair for continued success." As part of a planned transition, Wayfair has appointed Thomas Netzer, current COO of Wayfair's European operations, to succeed Savarese as COO. Netzer will relocate from Wayfair's Berlin office to Boston headquarters this summer. Prior to Wayfair, Netzer spent more than 20 years working in global transportation and infrastructure for McKinsey & Company, where he co-led the consultancy's global logistics practice. Wayfair has also promoted Allan Lyall to the new role of Chief Global Supply Chain Officer with responsibility for the company's rapidly growing global supply chain. Savarese will remain with the company to support the transition through Oct. 15.
    • On July 17, 2019, Claire's Stores has hired Ryan Vero, formerly president of Party City, to head the teen accessories retailer as CEO, Claire's said in a press release. Vero takes over for interim CEO Kevin Corning. Corning, who has served as chief since March, is set return to his role on Claire's board after helping with the transition. Prior to Corning, Ron Marshall had been Claire's CEO since 2016. Marshall left the company March 21. At Party City, Vero oversaw the retailer's stores, as well as e-commerce and web operations. He has also held roles at Sears and OfficeMax.
    • On July 15, 2019, Rent-A-Center said it has inked a definitive agreement to acquire "substantially all of the assets" of virtual rent-to-own services company Merchants Preferred for $28 million in cash and a minimum of 701,918 shares of Rent-A-Center common stock. The acquisition, expected to close in the third quarter, has been unanimously approved by Rent-A-Center's board of directors and is subject to customary closing conditions, according to a company press release. The deal is valued at $47.5 million or so, based on Rent-A-Center's closing $27.83 per-share stock price on July 12, the company said. The impact to 2019 earnings from the acquisition is not expected to be material.