News Briefs


Ashley’s newest pop-up hits the Santa Monica Pier

Ashley’s newest pop-up is turning California’s Santa Monica Pier into a “vacation oasis.”

Ashley, formerly Ashley Furniture, is putting a summertime spin on its newest pop-up installation.

The home furnishings retailer is creating a “vacation oasis” on California’s storied Santa Monica Pier, June 17-18. Called “Ashley’s Beach Retreat,” the temporary experience will highlight the Ashley’s outdoor furniture, including swivel lounge chairs, sofas and chaise lounges.  

The event will also feature live music from DJ Bella Fox, and will offer unique experiences, including beverages from Coconuts by Coco Lily, games, a sunglass stationwhere shoppers can create beaded sunglass chains, and more. Following the event, Ashley will donate all of the installation’s furniture to the Santa Monica Pier for use in future activations — a move that promotes offering a sustainability and ensures less waste. 

“We’re excited to bring Ashley’s new outdoor pieces to the Pier,” said Kelly Davis, VP of marketing Strategy at Ashley. “We can’t wait for guests to experience the same quality, style and durability that Ashley is known for at one of the country’s most celebrated beaches.”

Ashley operates more than 1,125 locations in 67 countries.


Rite Aid names chief legal officer

Rite Aid operates more than 2,300 retail pharmacy locations.

Rite Aid has made an addition to its executive leadership team.

The company has appointed Thomas Sabatino as executive VP and chief legal officer. He will oversee the organization’s legal affairs, including enterprise risk management, compliance, regulatory affairs and privacy.

Sabatino brings four decades of experience in the legal field navigating complex business needs. He was most recently the executive VP and general counsel at Tenneco. His expertise in the health care industry includes previous executive roles at Aetna, Walgreen Boots Alliance, Schering Plough Corp., and Baxter International Inc., where in each instance he was instrumental in driving large-scale growth and operational effectiveness.

“As we continue to accelerate our performance and grow our capabilities, we are pleased to welcome Tom to the Rite Aid team,” said Busy Burr, who was named interim CEO of Rite Aid in January. “We believe Tom’s proven leadership and extensive background in the healthcare industry and company transformations will help us further our mission to provide whole health for life to all of our customers.”

Sabatino will become a member of the company's executive leadership team and report to Burr. 

“This is an exciting time to join Rite Aid and be part of a performance-driven workforce focused on revitalizing operations and making a meaningful impact on improving health outcomes for all people,” said Sabatino. “I look forward to supporting these efforts while strengthening our internal legal, compliance, and governance-related capabilities so that Rite Aid remains uniquely positioned to realize its vision for the modern pharmacy.”

Rite Aid employs more than 6,300 pharmacists and operates more than 2,300 retail pharmacy locations across 17 states.



GNC exec joins C-suite at Rue21

Rue 21

Another GNC senior leader has made the move to Rue21.

The teen apparel retailer named Karlyn Mattson executive VP, chief customer officer. Mattson joins Rue21 from GNC, where she most recently served as executive VP, chief merchandising officer. Her appointment comes several months after Rue21 named former GNC head Josh Burris as CEO. 

Rue21 said that Mattson will leverage her extensive industry knowledge to advance the company “customer-first focus and deepen relationships with its diverse community.”

Prior to joining GNC in 2021, Mattson served as general manager-merchandise strategy, new business development and women Zappos,  and as chief merchandising office of Famous Footwear.  

Mattson  also spent nearly nine years in senior merchandising roles at Target Corp.  Before Target, she was with Macy

"Karlyn's industry leadership and dedication to customer needs is perfectly aligned with our mission at Rue21," said president and CEO of Rue21. "Her unique background will be invaluable as we continue to cultivate our commitment to building the most relevant and mainstream fashion destination.”

Mattson will play a pivotal role in the company's merchandising, planning and marketing operations. She will oversee rue21's omnichannel strategy and upcoming marketing campaigns to support the company's efforts in being the most relevant fast-fashion retailer in the country, according to the company release.

"I am incredibly excited to join the rue21 team," said

Headquartered  inPa., Rue 21 currently operates over 600 US stores in 45 states. 


Mall location doesn’t work out for Wegmans


Wegman’s nearly decade-long search for a site in Natick, Mass., about 20 miles east of Boston, ended in 2018 when it landed a 134,000-sq.-ft. spot in Natick Mall.

Five years later, its rare mall residency has ended for lack of traffic.

“Making these decisions is never easy. However, we do it for the long-term benefit of our people, our customers, and our communities,” said Brien MacKendrick, human resources director of Wegmans’ New England division. “With this non-traditional location we are unable to attract enough customers for our business model to work.”

The store’s 365 employees all are being offered positions at other Wegmans locations in the Greater Boston area, where it operates five other stores employing some 2,700 people.

The Natick Wegmans was the Rochester-based mega-market chain’s first multi-level store and one of its largest. It operates 110 stores along the East Coast, 49 of them in New York State.

“We love our Natick community and customers, and we’re eager to pursue new store locations in the area for the future,” MacKendrick said.

The family-owned and run company led by chairman Danny Wegman and president andCEO Colleen Wegman celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016. Wegmans has been named one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” by Fortune magazine for 25 consecutive years, ranking #4 in 2023.


Foxtrot opening its largest location yet

Foxtrot offers on-demand delivery through its app. (Photo: Foxtrot)

Foxtrot is going big in Austin.

The retailer, which describes itself as the modern convenience brand, is set to unveil its largest location to date, in the Bouldin Creek neighborhood of Austin, Texas. Foxtrot combines neighborhood retail and e-commerce technology with a curated selection of local faves and emerging brands.  The company is headed by former Taco Bell executive Liz Williams, who took the reins from co-founder Mike LaVitola in April.  

Opening on June 5, the 6,000-sq.-ft. Austin outpost, which includes an indoor-outdoor covered patio, was once two buildings:  an auto repair shop and a grocer. Both are now bridged together, pulling in different elements of each to create a cafe, market and courtyard.  The space was designed by Foxtrot’s in-house design team in partnership with Scott Magic, of Magic Architecture.  Neon Jungle’s Evan Voyles, created a custom neon marquee sign for the store.

This is Foxtrot’s second location in Austin, with a third set to open in the upcoming weeks, at the base of Austin City Hall. The company currently has 27 locations across Chicago, Washington, D.C., Dallas and Austin, with plans to continue expansion in existing markets this year. 

The new Foxtrot features the retailer’s all-day café offerings, which include coffee, seasonal drinks, fresh smoothies, breakfast tacos, chef-prepared salads and bowls and grab-and-go meals for lunch and dinner. The curated market selection ranges from craft beers and wines to everyday essentials, with an emphasis on local products from local makers.

 Foxtrot offers pickup and on-demand delivery through its mobile app. 


Report: Amazon may add Prime mobile service

Amazon building

Amazon is reportedly negotiating with several major wireless carriers about including their service as an option for Prime members.

According to CNBC coverage of news first reported by Bloomberg, Amazon has been talking to wireless carriers including AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Dish about reselling or packaging their mobile services as a free benefit for Prime subscribers for the past six to eight weeks. It could be several months of negotiations before any deal between Amazon and a wireless carrier occurred.

“We are always exploring adding even more benefits for Prime members, but don’t have plans to add wireless at this time,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement to CNBC.

This would not be Amazon’s first attempt at offering a mobile phone service. In June 2014, the e-tail giant released the proprietary Amazon Fire phone, which never took off with consumers and was discontinued in 2015.

According to CNBC, it has not yet received commentary from Verizon, T-Mobile, Dish, or AT&T. Read the article here.