Inside This Issue - News
James named Kmart president
August 25th, 2014
HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. – Sears Holdings Corp. has appointed former Tesco PLC executive Alasdair James to the new position of president and chief member officer for Kmart.
James is responsible for driving the Kmart format strategy, managing the Kmart profit-and-loss statement, and for aligning the discount chain’s merchandising and marketing with the needs and desires of members of its Shop Your Way loyalty program.
“Alasdair will work closely with me and our business unit leaders to understand the preferences of Shop Your Way members who shop at Kmart,” says Edward Lampert, chairman and chief executive officer of Sears Holdings. “He will be responsible for the Kmart strategy, its performance and its continued transformation as an integrated retail format.”
James joins Kmart at a particularly challenging time. During Sears’ first quarter, which ended May 3, Kmart sales fell 6.6% to $2.9 billion, while its operating loss deepened to $98 million from $28 million a year before. Comparable-store sales decreased 2.2%, which marked a significant improvement over the prior-year decline of 4.6%.
However, Shop Your Way members accounted for 74% of sales at Sears full-line and Kmart stores during the quarter, underlining the importance of the program to hopes for future improvement.
IGD Retail Analysis, a United Kingdom-based retail research and analysis organization, notes that Sears is in the midst of transforming its retail businesses from a product-centric, transactional focus to a member-centric, relationship focus that is intended to enable greater personalization and dynamic pricing.
“A key element of this is the retailer’s ‘Shop Your Way’ Program,” notes IGD. “With improving productivity and efficiencies also a major element of its strategic transformation, James’ experience at Tesco will be a valuable asset in these areas.”
Before joining Kmart, James held a number of executive roles since 2007 at Tesco, the U.K.’s largest retailer. His most recent post was commercial director for Tesco’s global business. Before that, he spent two years as executive vice president and commercial director of Tesco’s China operations. Besides his experience at Tesco, James has worked at GlaxoSmithKline PLC and PepsiCo Inc.