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  • INDUSTRY NEWS

    • On April 26, 2017, it was reported, although Rite Aid affirmed it believes its acquisition by Walgreens Boots Alliance is in the "best interest of Rite Aid shareholders, customers and associates," Chairman and CEO John Standley acknowledged "the extended duration of the merger process is having a negative impact on our results. Walgreens and Rite Aid first announced the proposed merger on Oct. 27, 2015, but agreed to extend the deadline to July 31, while the companies awaited the Federal Trade Commission to rule on the transaction. In Tuesday's 2017 fiscal fourth-quarter earnings release, Rite Aid stated: "While WBA and Rite Aid continue to be actively engaged in discussions with the Federal Trade Commission regarding the transaction and are working toward a close of the merger by July 31, 2017, there can be no assurance that the requisite regulatory approvals will be obtained, or that the merger will be completed within the time period contemplated by the merger agreement on the current terms, if at all."
    • On April 25, 2017, it was reported, J.Crew Group Inc., the struggling apparel chain, will shake up its management ranks and cut 250 jobs in a bid to revive growth. As part of the overhaul, Chief Operating Officer Michael Nicholson will begin overseeing the J.Crew brand, including marketing and design decisions. Nicholson, a 50-year-old former Ann Inc. executive who joined the retailer last year, also has the job of chief financial officer, giving him a central role in the attempt to turn around the business.
    • On April 24, 2017, it was reported, Oriental Weavers has promoted a 20-year company veteran to head its North American distribution and manufacturing operations. Jonathan Witt is the company's new president, as of last week. OW is the sixth largest supplier of home textiles to the U.S., with 2016 sales in the country of $393 million. Witt joined Oriental Weavers in 1997 as assistant marketing manager. Since then, he has steadily climbed the company's ranks - from marketing director to vice president of sales, marketing and product development, and his most recent post as evp. He has led OW's area rug business in the U.S. since 2013. Witt is credited with "playing an integral role in the strategic planning of the company's growth into new retail channels, product categories, and the dynamic infrastructure required to serve the ever-changing needs of retailers," the company said.
    • On April 24, 2017, Sears Holdings Corp. announced that CFO Jason Hollar has resigned from the company "to pursue another career opportunity" after seven months in the role. Rob Riecker, controller and head of Capital Market Activities, has been appointed to replace Hollar, effective immediately, the company said in a press release. The company also reiterated that it continues to make efforts to cut costs, including 150 non-profitable stores (including 108 Kmart and 42 Sears locations) that have already been closed, plus the planned closure of 92 underperforming Kmart pharmacies and 50 Sears Auto Center locations. In another cost-savings effort, the company is eliminating management positions at Sears and Kmart. All told, the company said it will best its savings goal of $1 billion to realize $1.25 billion in savings for the year; $700 million has already been saved through various efforts.