JCPenney has received awards for energy sustainability from both the public and private sectors.
The department store chain was named a 2023 Energy Star Partner of the Year Sustained Excellence from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. The award is the program’s highest honor and is reserved for participants demonstrating outstanding leadership, year over year.
The EPA recognizes companies with the Sustained Excellence Award if they have already received Energy Star Partner of the Year recognition for a minimum of two consecutive years and have gone above and beyond the criteria needed to qualify for recognition. Department store retailer Kohl’s is also a 2023 recipientof this award.
In addition, JCPenney has been recognized by Unifi Inc., the makers of Repreve recycled polyester, as a recipient of the sixth annual Champions of Sustainability award. This is the third year in a row the retailer has received this honor. The award recognizes brand, textile and retail partners that have demonstrated a commitment to supporting sustainability.
Since its partnership with Repreve began, JCPenney has recycled a total of 59 million plastic bottles to be made into fiber for new apparel, footwear, home goods and other consumer products. Through Repreve, Unifi has transformed more than 30 billion plastic bottles into recycled fiber for consumer products.
The fallout from Bed Bath & Beyond’s bankruptcy filing continues.
The home goods retailer on Wednesday said Nasdaq informed the company that its stock would be suspended at the opening of business on May 3. Bed Bath & Beyond filed for bankruptcy on April 23. In its filing, Bed Bath & Beyond said that it would not appeal a Nasdaq delisting notice.
The company has started store closing sales and will liquidate if it cannot find a buyer for its assets. In its bankruptcy filing, Bed Bath & Beyond said it had $5.2 billion in debt and assets of just $4.4 billion. It secured $240 million in debtor-in-possession financing to close its stores and wind down its operations.
In its filing, the retailer is seeking court permission to pay approximately $17 million to vendors that include merchandise suppliers, warehousers, trucking companies and parcel carriers.
Bed Bath & Beyond also announced the cancellation of its previously announced special meeting of shareholders scheduled for May 9. The company is also withdrawing its proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 5.
A 32-year Nordstrom veteran has joined the executive leadership team at Tilly’s.
The young men’s and women’s casual apparel, accessories and footwear retailer has appointed Laura Janney as executive VP, chief merchandising officer, effective May 8, 2023. Janney will oversee all aspects of the Tilly’s merchandising operations, including buying, sourcing, and product development, along with coordinating consistency in merchandising experiences both in-store and online.
Prior to joining Tilly’s, Janney was with Hudson’s Bay Company, from July 2019 to January 2023, most recently as chief merchant for The Bay. Before that, she spent 32 years at Nordstrom, 1987 to 2019 in a variety of retail store and merchandise management roles, including most recently as VP, omnichannel divisional merchandise manager for innovation/full price stores.
“I am excited to have Laura join our Company,” said Tilly’s president and CEO Ed Thomas. “We believe her extensive experience in retail merchandising and track record of growth and strategic leadership will bring great value to Tilly’s as we work to improve our business.”
Tilly’s is headquartered in Irvine, California and currently operates 249 total stores across 33 states and its website.
Nordstrom has appointed Jason Morrisas as chief technology and information officer, effective May 1, 2023. He succeeds Edmond Mesrobian, who departed the company in October 2022.
Morris joins the department store retailer from Walmart, where he most recently led global enterprise technology as senior VP, enterprise business services. Prior to that, Morris was Walmart’s VP of customer-facing technology and led strategy, system development and implementation of hardware and software in more than 10,000 locations globally.
Previously, Morris was responsible for technology development across many aspects of Walmart's retail business, including merchandising, replenishment, supplier management, real estate and global compliance.
At Nordstrom, Morris will oversee the company's technology functions, including engineering and data science and analytics. The retailer is on track to deploy radio frequency identification chain-wide this year.
"Jason has a wealth of experience leading large, global teams to create and implement best-in-class retail technology solutions," said Erik Nordstrom, CEO of Nordstrom. “He will play a critical role as we continue to advance our Closer to You market strategy, and we look forward to welcoming him to the team."
Unveiled earlier this year, Nordstrom’s “Closer to You” strategy is a comprehensive initiative that puts the focus on the retailer’s biggest growth opportunities, which include expanding its outlet division and digital sales.
"I have long admired Nordstrom as a retail leader in redefining the importance of digital," said Morris. "I am excited to join this talented technology team to continue enhancing Nordstrom's digital capabilities and support the company's ongoing focus on using technology to serve customers in new and better ways."
U.S. consumer sentiment inches up in April — so do inflation expectations
Consumers are feeling a bit better about the economy, but are more worried about inflation.
The overall consumer sentiment index ticked up 2.4% to 63.5 in early April from a four-month low of 62 in March, according to the University of Michigan’s preliminary reading for April. Sentiment is now about 3% below a year ago, but 27% above the all-time low from last June.
“Rising sentiment for lower-income consumers was offset by declines among those with higher incomes," said Joanne Hsu, director, Surveys of Consumers. "While consumers have noted the easing of inflation among durable goods and cars, they still expect high inflation to persist, at least in the short run."
The index that measures what consumers think about current economic conditions rose to 68.6 in April from 66.3 in March. The index of consumer expectations (for the next six months) inched up to 60.3 from 59.2 in March.
Year-ahead inflation expectations rose to 4.6% in April from 3.6% in March. Inflation expectations have been seesawing for four consecutive months, alternating between increases and decreases.
“Uncertainty over short-run inflation expectations continues to be notably elevated, indicating that the recent volatility in expected year-ahead inflation is likely to continue,” said Hsu. “The bumpiness in inflation expectations is limited to the short run as long-run inflation expectations remained remarkably stable.”
Long-run inflation expectations came in at 2.9% for the fifth consecutive month and have stayed within the narrow 2.9% to 3.1% range for 20 of the last 21 months.
“While consumers have noted the easing of inflation among durable goods and cars, they still expect high inflation to persist, at least in the short run,” said Hsu.
Pandemic Peloton poop-out caused a resurgence of fitness concepts in physical retail, one of them being a fast-growing Dallas-based chain called Fitness Connection.
With more than 30 gyms in the Lone Star State, concentrated largely in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston metros, Fitness Connection opened its second gym in the San Antonio market this week and will open another there later this year.
One of the lowest entry-priced gyms in the United States, Fitness Connection costs just $10 a month for members who sign up for annual plans.
"We're thrilled to expand our reach in San Antonio and provide more people with a convenient, affordable, and inspiring way to achieve their fitness goals," said the chain’s CEO Patrick Flanagan.
Fitness Connection bills its spaces as “Your Gym Come True,” offering full-size basketball and pickleball courts, women’s workout areas, saunas, and a Kids Club with a mini basketball court and a theater.
"Our gyms offer more amenities, more equipment, and more space than any of our competitors,” Flanagan maintains.