Sprouts names Jack Sinclair as new CEO

Sprouts Farmers Market has appointed Jack L. Sinclair as its new CEO and member of its board of directors. Sinclair has more than 35 years of experience in the grocery industry, most recently serving as the CEO of 99 Cents Only Stores. He also served as 99 Cents Only’s chief merchandising officer, and was executive vice president of Walmart‘s U.S. grocery division from 2007 to 2015.

Sprouts is facing many shifts all at once in its corporate team, which can be overwhelming for a company, particularly one that’s expanding as rapidly as the natural grocer is. But with the right guidance and strategy, Sprouts could thrive under its new leadership.

Sinclair’s past experience in food retail could help Sprouts stay relevant as it moves into new markets and updates stores in existing ones. His work with Walmart’s grocery division as it was shifting to e-commerce could help Sprouts connect with shoppers in-store and online. His year as CEO for 99 Cents Only Stores, which has undergone major debt dealsand pressure from the crowded discount store space, will add expertise for Sprouts in dealing with competitive markets.

The transition from one executive to the next can be a rocky time for retailers as both the company and executive acclimate to each others’ visions, plans and working styles. Major projects and business goals can be put on hold, but it can also spark new ideas and kickstart growth. Sprouts’ stock price was down 3% Friday morning following the news of the leadership changes, indicating some investor uneasiness.

Under previous CEO Amin Maredia, Sprouts charted an aggressive expansion plan of around 30 stores a year and a runway to 1,200 stores nationwide. Small stores, reasonable prices and an abundance of fresh offerings have been the company’s signature features. Sprouts has shown a willingness to adjust its approach, with new stores now featuring an “enhanced” format that offers more prepared foods. The company is also remodeling existing stores under this format and introducing more private label products.

In its past few quarterly earnings, Sprouts has reported growth in e-commerce and store brands, as well as strong new store sales. The company has been expanding and is on target to open 28 new stores in fiscal 2019, per its first quarter earnings report.


Source: Grocery Dive

Uniqlo appoints first female CEO for its Japan business

Casual-wear retailer Uniqlo has promoted a former manager of a busy Tokyo store to take charge of operations in its home market of Japan, where population decline makes maintaining earnings a challenge.

Maki Akaida, a 40-year-old group senior vice president at parent company Fast Retailing, assumed the role of CEO for Uniqlo’s Japanese business this month.

After joining Uniqlo in 2001, Akaida worked at stores in areas ranging from Tokyo’s posh Ginza district and Shanghai to Niigata Prefecture. When managing a store in the capital’s desirable suburb of Kichijoji, she was known for successfully overseeing one of the most popular Uniqlo outlets in the country.

Akaida is the second person to hold the Japan CEO title after a long reign by Fast Retailing Chairman, President and CEO Tadashi Yanai. She replaces Takao Kuwahara, a group executive vice president at the parent who had succeeded Yanai as head of the Japan business last fall.

Fast Retailing is putting more women into management and has moved the office for the effort from human resources to right under the president. Directing the office starting this month is Mari Kogiso, director of the Gender Investment and Innovation Department at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation.

Ex-banker Kogiso specializes in environmental, social and governance investing and was responsible for the foundation’s 2017 establishment of a roughly $100 million Asia Women Impact Fund. She works to create opportunities for women and to address the gender gap.

Source: Nikkei Asian Review


River Island hires ex-The White Company boss as CEO

River Island has hired the former boss of Wiggle and The White Company as its new chief executive.

Will Kernan will join office in September, and will be replacing current chief executive Ben Lewis, who is stepping down from the role after nine years.

Lewis, who is the nephew of River Island founder Bernard Lewis, will remain on the board as a non-executive director.

Kernan led The White Company for five years, before serving as the chief operating officer at New Look for 13 years.

“Ben steps aside following a distinguished tenure and the board is extremely grateful for his leadership,” River Island chair Clive Lewis said.

“Succession has been carefully planned and, following a rigorous selection process, we are confident Will has the right skills, experience and vision to lead the company in this exciting new chapter.”

Source: Retail Gazette