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Rite Aid promotes 2 finance vets

BY David Salazar

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid has promoted two of its own financial executives to new positions. The company named Matt Schroeder senior vice president, chief accounting officer and treasurer, and named Brian Hoover group vice president and controller, effective immediately.

Schroeder moves into the new position from his role as the chain’s group vice president of strategy, investor relations and treasurer. Schroeder has been with Rite Aid since 2000 when he joined as vice president of financial accounting, and he has been in his most recent role since 2010. He succeeds Doug Donley, who is retiring after more than 20 years with the company.

“Matt is a highly regarded member of Rite Aid's management team who has deep knowledge of our business and the overall retail healthcare industry,” Rite Aid CFO and chief administrative officer Darren Karst said. “I am confident we will continue to benefit from Matt's expertise and leadership in our efforts going forward. We also wish to thank Doug for his significant contributions to the company throughout his career at Rite Aid and wish him well in his future plans.”

Hoover was most recently Rite Aid’s vice president of financial accounting. He’s been with the company since 1995, when he joined as a financial analyst, moving through various accounting positions with increasing responsibility until being named to his most recent position in 2008. He previously worked at KPGM as a staff auditor.

“Brian has been a tremendous asset to our team and I am confident that his talent and leadership will continue to serve our company well in this new role,” Karst added. 

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Costco’s October beats expectations

BY Marianne Wilson

Costco Wholesale posted a 10.1% increase in revenue amid increases in sales traffic and a big increase in online sales.

Costco’s net sales rose 10.1% to $10.02 billion for the four weeks ended Oct. 29, from $9.11 billion during the similar period last year.

Total same-store sales increased 7.5%, ahead of the Street forecast, with a 7% increase in U.S., and a 9% rise in Canada. Other International comparable sales rose 8.2%. For the second consecutive month, comparable e-commerce sales rose 31%.

Monthly comparable sales, excluding the impacts from changes in gasoline prices and foreign exchange, were up 5.6%, with a 5.9% rise in U.S. and a 2.8% increase in Canada. Other International comparable sales rose 7.4%.

Commenting on the results, Ray Young, analyst with Gordon Haskett Research Advisors, said Costco continues to deliver, and that its U.S. sales trends remain “incredibly steady and solid.”

He noted that the retailer’s traffic trends also remain healthy, both globally (up 3.9%) and in the U.S. (up 4.1%).

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Adobe data points to record-breaking Cyber Monday

BY Marianne Wilson

Online sales are expected to go through the roof on Cyber Monday, growing 16.5% over last year.

That’s according to a report from Adobe, which predicts that Cyber Monday will generate $6.6 billion in sales, making it the largest online shopping day in history. Online sales on Thanksgiving Day are expected to increase 15% to $2.8 billion.

Adobe expects that total online sales for the holiday season will be $107.4 billion, an increase of 13.8%. In-store retail is expected to grow 10%.

Large retailers (more than $100 million in annual revenue) will see higher order values and desktop conversion rates than smaller retailers (less than $10 million in annual revenue), according to the report, which is based on data from Adobe Analytics. But retailers are expected to have the mobile advantage with a higher average conversion rate of 1.9% by attracting more shoppers with an intent to buy.

“This year’s record-breaking online holiday shopping season is built on the strength of the big players,” said Mickey Mericle, VP, marketing and insights at Adobe. “We predict the biggest retailers with wide selections, easy shopping experiences and free shipping, to drive online holiday growth this year. Still, there is opportunity for savvy small retailers to win, specifically with mobile experiences.”

Here are some key findings from the Adobe report:

• Mobile shopping: While desktop purchases are predicted to account for two-thirds of revenue this holiday season, mobile is serving as a starting point for many consumers. For the first time, Web traffic on smartphones and tablets is predicted to be higher than for desktops, at 54% and 46% respectively.

• Less big-ticket spending: Consumers are expected to buy more items, at lower prices. Four out of five product categories measured show higher unit growth than revenue growth. Huge unit growth seen in toys (39% vs 24% revenue growth) and apparel (20% vs 17% revenue growth), while jewelry trails (down 3% for both unit and revenue growth).

• Most anticipated gift items: Based on social buzz, the most desired electronics this holiday season include Apple Air Pods, Sony PlayStation VR, as well as home assistants such as Amazon Echo and Google Home. Nostalgia reigns supreme with toys and video games, as Hasbro NERF Guns, Nintendo Switch and Super Mario Odyssey are expected to be among the top-sellers.

Additionally, the top toys from 2016 are capitalizing on their success with updated products that are expected to perform well this year, including Moose’s Toys’ Shopkins and Spin Master Hatchimals.

• Best Dates for deals: The sharpest discounts are expected to occur on Black Friday, with televisions (23.7%), tablets (23.6%), jewelry (12%) and appliances (17.7%) showing the largest price decreases.

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