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Family Dollar creates SVP merchandise operations

BY Michael Johnsen

MATTHEWS, N.C. — Family Dollar Stores on Monday named Scott Zucker to the newly created position of SVP merchandise operations. Zucker will be responsible for driving the strategy and execution of merchandise initiatives, category management, merchandise planning and replenishment.

The appointment was welcomed on Wall Street. "We believe that [Zucker’s] experience in pricing and merchandise operations could prove valuable as the company works to better manage the impact of its merchandising initiatives on mix and markdowns," wrote Citi Research analyst Deborah Weinswig in a note published Monday morning. 

Analysts have been concerned that Family Dollar, along with other dollar channel operators, would be facing increasing pressure from lower margins tied to sharper promotions. And their customer base is supposed to be challenged, with more middle-income shoppers gravitating toward higher-end retail outlets even as the discretionary dollars of their lower-income shoppers were challenged by rising gas prices and January’s "payroll tax."

"This sector of the market was supposed to be finished as things got better and people shopped at Target and Costco," remarked Jim Cramer Monday on an episode of "The Street."  But that’s not happening, he said. Cramer was bullish on the sector in the wake of a positive Dollar General quarter on Monday, though he was not as high on Family Dollar.  

Improving operations in a meaningful way may help change that perception at Family Dollar. "This new alignment will allow for improved execution, simplified operational processes, inventory optimization and faster strategic decision-making," stated Michael Bloom, Family Dollar president and COO. "Scott brings a wealth of leadership and experience in merchandising, supply chain planning and information technology, all of which will provide tremendous support of our long-term strategic goals."

Zucker will report to Bloom. 

Zucker joined Family Dollar in 2006 as divisional VP pricing. In 2007 he was promoted to VP merchandise operations, and most recently, Zucker served as VP IT solutions.

Prior to joining Family Dollar, Zucker was with BearingPoint Consulting. After graduating from Davidson College, he started his retail career with Belk. He earned his MBA from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 1997.

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Meijer launches Simply Give donation campaign

BY Alaric DeArment

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Meijer will fund local food pantries by doubling every customer’s $10 donation next month, the mass-merchandise retailer said.

As part of the spring "Simply Give" campaign, the company will double donations made April 12-13 to restock shelves of pantries that were depleted during the holidays. Meijer said customers have donated nearly $5 million — equal to 30 million meals — since November 2008.

"Our customers never cease to amaze us with their continued support of our Simply Give program," co-chairman Hank Meijer said. "This initiative is a great way to thank them for their generosity by stretching their hard-earned contributions even further and ensuring our food pantry partners have the supplies they need to feed an increasing number of hungry neighbors."

 

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Martin’s donated more than $2.2 million to Va. charities in 2012

BY Alaric DeArment

CARLISLE, Pa. — Martin’s Food Markets donated more than $2.2 million in the Richmond and Williamsburg, Va., areas in 2012 as part of its "Living Here, Giving Here" charitable program, the supermarket chain said.

Martin’s, part of Ahold USA’s Giant-Carlisle chain, said the donations broke a record. The money will go to hunger-relief, animal welfare and poverty relief groups, schools, the United Way, USO of Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia and others.

"Martin’s is so proud to be part of the vibrant Richmond and Williamsburg communities, and I want to thank all of our associates for their passion and enthusiasm as we brought our charitable giving to a new height in 2012," Martin’s regional VP Jim Scanlon said. "Along with our associates, customers and vendors, we believe we can make a difference in the lives of children and help eradicate hunger within the neighborhoods we serve."


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