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Wal-Mart announces new head of Asia retail operations

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Wal-Mart Stores announced the appointment of Vicente Trius to executive vp, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Asia, International, effective Feb. 1.

Trius will lead Wal-Mart’s retail operations in Asia, which has retail units in Japan and China and more than 82,000 associates. The company also has a joint venture with Bharti Enterprises in India.

Trius joined Wal-Mart in 1996 as vp-operations in the international division and was promoted to president and CEO of Wal-Mart Brazil in 1997. Succeeding him will be Hector Nunez, who will take over the position effective Feb. 1.

“Wal-Mart already has a successful business in Asia,” said Trius. “I am looking forward to building upon this success,” he added.

Wal-Mart has had operations in China since 1996 with 101 name units and has minority shareholding in Trust-Mart, which has 102 units. The company also operates the Japanese company Seiyu, which has 364 units.

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Restoration Hardware reports lower holiday sales

BY HBSDEALER Staff

In its annual report on the holiday sales period, specialty retailer Restoration Hardware said net revenue took a small hit, falling 1 percent to $171.5 million from $173.2 million in the same nine-week period last year.

During the period, the company’s catalog page count declined 17 percent. Additionally, the company said it executed a “commensurate reduction in the number of books mailed … reflecting management’s long-term strategy to reduce costs and improve productivity.”

“The environment for home furnishings retailers remained challenging during the holiday period,” said Gary Friedman, president and CEO of Restoration Hardware. “The seasonal sales we anticipated in gift items during the final days of holiday did not materialize as expected, contributing to softness that was concentrated in our decorative accessories business.”

The Corte Madera, Calif.-based retailer has been the target of a takeover attempt by Sears Holdings. Sears Holdings has offered $6.75 per share for the mid-to-high-end retailer, a higher bid than the $6.70 per share offer from private equity firm Catterton Partners. Sears currently owns a 13.7 percent stake in Restoration Hardware.

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Newell Rubbermaid plans distribution facility

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Housewares maker Newell Rubbermaid has announced plans to build a new 800,000-square-foot distribution facility in Atlanta.

The move is part of a company strategy to “convert many single-brand distribution centers to select multi-brand distribution centers that are located more centrally,” the company said in a statement.

The new facility will employ approximately 300 people.

“This new distribution center further supports our global objective to achieve operational excellence and best total cost across our strong portfolio of brands,” said Mark Ketchum, president and CEO of Newell Rubbermaid. “We are continuing to make solid progress in eliminating redundancies and reducing our operational footprint.”

The company has reduced its global distribution facilities from 96 facilities to fewer than 80, with a goal of decreasing to approximately 50 over the next two years.

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