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  • INDUSTRY NEWS

    • On August 10, 2022, it was reported, it's a homecoming for the new finance head of Kirkland's, who previously spent 18 years with the company. The home decor and accessories company has appointed Mike Madden as CFO, effective Sept. 1. He succeeds CFO and COO Nicole Strain, who is leaving the company at the end of August. (The responsibilities within the role of COO have been assigned to other senior members of the operations team.) Most recently, Madden served as CFO at Priam Properties, a private real estate investment firm that focuses on multi-tenant office properties across high-growth markets in the U.S. Prior to joining Priam Properties in 2018, he spent more than 18 years at Kirkland's Home in various senior leadership and executive roles, including serving as president and CEO from 2015 to 2018.
    • On August 10, 2022, it was reported, after announcing their partnership earlier this year, Conn's. Inc and Belk have officially launched their first store-within-a-store pilot concept in five Belk locations under the name Conn's x Belk. The new store format provides Belk customers with access to Conn's complementary home product categories, as well as core differentiators like industry-leading white-glove, next-day delivery. Additional Conn's x Belk locations are planned to open throughout the summer and early fall of 2022, along with an e-commerce experience coming to Belk.com this fall. The Conn's x Belk locations feature a name brand assortment of all major Conn's product categories including furniture, home electronics and appliances. The store-within-a-store format ranges from approximately 10,000 to 25,000 square feet depending on the Belk location.
    • On July 13, 2022, it was reported, independent mattress manufacturer Blue Bell Mattress has acquired regional bedding, futon and cotton batting producer Wolf Corp., giving the company an additional 100,000 square feet in manufacturing space. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the acquisition includes the factory, intellectual property, trademarks and book of customers. Derek Ritzel, CEO of Blue Bell Mattress, said the acquisition will help facilitate Blue Bell's growth. "We are excited about the future of this combined company," Ritzel said. "Wolf and Blue Bell have similar histories as highly regarded, customer-centric companies. Bringing together these two companies will expand our capacity, reach and breadth of product. In addition, Wolf has a strong presence with ecommerce customers and will be a great addition to Blue Bell's channels." Located in Fort Wayne, Ind., vertically integrated Wolf Corp. was founded in 1873. CEO Tony Wolf is the fourth generation to run the company, and he will remain as a consultant during the transition.
    • On July 13, 2022, it was reported, Dollar General, which generates more than $300 million in annual home textiles sales, has announced that CEO Todd Vasos will step down from the role this year. He will be succeeded by Jeffery Owen, effective Nov. 1. Owen, who has been chief operating officer since August 2019, previously held the roles of EVP, store operations from 2015-2019 and SVO, store operations from 2011-2014. Prior to August 2011, Owen served VP, division manager; retail division manager; senior director, operations process improvement; and store manager, among other roles. He joined Dollar General in 1992 as a store manager trainee in a Nashville, Tenn. store. During Owen's nearly 30-year tenure with the company, Dollar General has grown from 1,500 stores in 23 states into the largest retailer by store count in the U.S. with more than 18,000 stores and 28 distribution centers in 47 states as of April 2022. He is expected to be elected to serve as a member of Dollar General's board of directors upon the effectiveness of his promotion to CEO. He has also served as a director of Kirkland's Inc. since March 2015. Vasos will continue to serve Dollar General in a special advisory role after he steps down.