retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Fresh Market announced that it has hired Pamela Kohn to be its new Executive Vice President and Chief Merchandising Officer, "responsible for enhancing the customer experience while accelerating the improvement of merchandise selection, customer value, brand messaging, and in-store experience." Kohn most recently spent a dozen years at Walmart, "in supply chain, merchandising, store operations, real estate, sourcing and merchandising operations.  During her tenure there," the company said, "she led Walmart’s perishables business and Neighborhood Market program." Before that, she held merchandising and marketing positions at both Ahold-owned Stop & Shop and Delhaize-owned Food Lion.

• The Financial Times reports that Marc Bolland, the Marks and Spencer CEO, is stepping down, to be succeeded by Steve Rowe, currently the company's executive director of general merchandise.

Bolland has been CEO since 2010, and, FT writes, has been under increased pressure to deliver better results: "his decision to leave comes after a tough festive trading period, during which like-for-like sales of general merchandise — essentially clothing and homewares — fell by a far bigger than expected 5.8 per cent."
KC's View:
Interesting choice by Fresh Market ... because it is hard to imagine two perishables approaches as dissimilar as those of Fresh Market and Walmart. I suspect it says something interesting about CEO Rick Anicetti's plans to make Fresh Market more relevant and aggressive.

As for Marks and Spencer ... maybe I'm reading this wrong, but it sounds like they're giving the top job to the guy whose departments were giving the company the most trouble. But maybe I'm just reading it wrong.