Successor to Best Buy’s turnaround leader will start in June

MINNEAPOLIS — Hubert Joly in June will turn over leadership of Best Buy to Corie Barry, currently chief financial and transformation officer, after leading a turnaround lauded by Wall Street and employees.

Barry, having been promoted to executive vice president of transformation and finance in November, has been intimately involved in crafting the next steps in Best Buy’s growth. So has Mike Mohan, who following the company’s annual meeting on June 11 will add president to his chief operating title.

Besides two years at Deloitte and Touche just after graduating from the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Barry, 43, has worked her entire career at Best Buy.

The 59-year-old Joly isn’t ready to retire yet. He will become executive chairman, helping with external and government relations, leadership development and really anything Barry asks him to do, he said.

Though Joly didn’t have retail experience when Best Buy hired him in 2012, the former head of the Carlson hospitality company led a turnaround for the electronics store chain that had been faltering in the marketplace.

The Richfield, Minn.-based company already has met financial goals set for fiscal year 2021 and Joly is a new grandfather, which he said made him decide this was the right time to put his succession plan in place.

Over the past four years, annual earnings per share have nearly doubled. Same-store sales comparisons have risen for eight consecutive quarters. Joly oversaw change in the company’s mind-set including a greater emphasis on in-home adviser services, a new health care monitoring business and the technology and staffing to allow people to shop the way they want, whether it is in a store or online.

Starbucks runs hundreds of Texas stores on solar power

DALLAS — Starbucks is investing in solar farms across Texas as part of an effort to annually save $50 million in utility costs over the next ten years.

Two completed, 10-megawatt Texas solar farms owned by Cypress Creek Renewables in Wharton and Blossom are already providing power for 360 of its more than 1,000 stores in Texas, including Dallas-Fort Worth.

Also, Starbucks is investing in six new Cypress Creek solar farms in Texas, representing 50 megawatts of solar energy. In total, the portfolio of eight projects announced last week will reduce carbon usage by 101.000 tons per year. Starbucks said that’s the equivalent of planting nearly 2.5 million trees.

Starbucks didn’t break out its solar investment in Texas, but said over the past two years, it has spent more than $140 million toward renewable energy development.

The past 10 years, the company said renewable energy and other green efforts has saved it about $30 million in annual operating costs.

Pier 1 Imports CFO resigns, cost-cutting plan revealed

DALLAS — Pier 1 Imports’ chief financial officer resigned Wednesday and the Fort Worth, Texas-based home furnishings retailer reported a 19.5 percent decline in sales and a loss in its fourth quarter when it historically has posted a profit.

Interim chief executive officer Cheryl Bachelder said Pier 1 will close 45 stores and may close up to 15 percent of its 970 stores in the U.S. and Canada if the company’s cost structure doesn’t improve. It has a plan to cut up to $110 million in costs this year.

“The home furnishings retail sector is a healthy category right now,” Bachelder said during a conference call with analysts. “It’s our job to get the customer to spend her share of wallet at Pier 1.”

Chief financial officer Nancy Walsh has left the company after only 15 months. The company said her departure was not related to a disagreement over financial disclosures or accounting policies. But it was apparently abrupt and effective Wednesday.

Netflix posts subscription boost, outlook spooks shareholders

LOS ANGELES — Netflix signed up more new paying subscribers than expected during the first quarter, attracting 9.6 million new accounts during the period — the highest add in the company’s history.

For the quarter, the Los Gatos, Calif.-based digital entertainment streaming giant brought in a record 9.6 million new paying subscribers, up nearly 16 percent from 8.3 million in the year-ago period.

Despite the strong results, Netflix shareholders were spooked by less than stellar guidance the company issued for the second quarter.

Netflix predicted just 5 million new paid subscribers for next quarter, down from 5.5 million in the second quarter of last year. The company also forecast earnings of 55 cents per share for the quarter, down from 85 cents in the year-ago period.

Netflix suggested that some of the uncertainty could be attributed to subscription price hikes that were announced at the start of the quarter. “We see some modest short-term churn effect as members consent to the price change,” the company wrote in a note to shareholders.

As a result, shares of Netflix dropped Tuesday following the company’s earnings report. The stock was down as much as 3 percent immediately after the closing bell but pulled back slightly.

J.C. Penney grabs its new leaders from other big retailers

DALLAS — J.C. Penney on Wednesday said it has filled more positions in its executive ranks to help tackle its ongoing turnaround efforts.

Steve Whaley becomes senior vice president, principal accounting officer and controller. He joins Plano, Texas-based Penney from Walmart, where he worked for 11 years.

Laurene Gandolfo takes over as senior vice president for home product design and development. More than 20 years of her career was specifically in the home business at both Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s.

Trish Adams comes to Penney after retiring recently from Target to be a strategic adviser. Adams will evaluate and create plans to simplify and improve the effectiveness and profitability of Penney’s pricing and promotion strategies, the company said. Adams’ 34-year career at Target included leadership roles as the discounter was first creating partnerships with high-profile designers to create lower price collections.

Penney CEO Jill Soltau has made several hires and promotions since Penney recruited her away from JoAnn Stores in October.

“Over the past few months, we have assembled a talented team of proven executives with a relentless drive for results,” Soltau said in a statement. “Their leadership will play a meaningful role in delivering profitable growth and positioning J.C. Penney for success.”

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