New Seasons' CEO is out after six years and the Portland grocery chain won't be expanding in California as originally planned.
That's the word from New Seasons this morning, which announced in a release that a "strategic shift" is underway at the company, one that will find it focusing more on existing stores than opening new ones. The move also finds Wendy Collie, who joined the company as CEO in 2012, stepping down to make way for a "flatter" leadership structure headed up by co-presidents Kristi McFarland, who's the company's chief people officer, and Forrest Hoffmaster, the CFO.
“Today’s disruptive retail landscape has inspired many companies such as ours to reevaluate their organizational structure and strategy," Collie said in the release. "The board and I have made the decision to redirect resources to support our core business, fund improvements for existing stores and invest in developing programs and services that will best meet the changing needs of our customers and communities.”
New Seasons, which over the past few years has followed a strategy of opening two stores per year in its core markets of Portland, Seattle and Northern California, will not open three planned California stores in San Francisco, Carmel and Emeryville, and it will also close its Sunnyvale store by the end of February. Investments made in all of those locations will be "redirected to support core store growth, enhancements and innovation."
New Seasons will target its California growth on its New Leaf Community Markets line of stores. A new location in Aptos is expected to open this fall.
“We are confident in this focused neighborhood store strategy and the increased investment in core markets that this represents," said Stephen Babson, managing director of Endeavour Capital, which is majority owner of New Seasons, in the release. "With this new strategy and leadership structure we will be well positioned to go deeper and do better in our neighborhoods and communities.”