Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. has announced that Laura A. Daily has been appointed as senior vice president of retail.

Daily will join the company on May 7, and will have responsibility for all aspects of the Company’s retail merchandising, planning and allocation functions. She will report to Sandra B. Cochran, president and CEO.

Daily has over 20 years of experience as a merchant with a number of retail organizations. Most recently, she served as vice president for Ballard Designs, an Internet and catalog home furnishings retailer that is part of HSN, Inc., where she was in charge of all merchandising and trends for the company.

Daily was an integral part of taking Ballard from a small, privately held company to becoming part of a large, publicly traded and nationally recognized brand. She also previously held merchandising, planning and store operations positions with Spiegel, Inc., and Carson Pirie Scott.

“We’re pleased to have someone with Laura’s talent and extensive experience joining Cracker Barrel,” says Cochran. “Laura brings with her a strong brand perspective that will strengthen the appeal of Cracker Barrel’s merchandise.

“Her retail merchandising track record and deep understanding of customers and what they want are of great value as we build on our retail sales momentum and position the company for continued growth.”

The company has also announced that it has restructured and streamlined its field organization to better align its restaurant and retail operations under central leadership.

Nicholas V. Flanagan, the company’s senior vice president of operations, will now have direct responsibility for both restaurant and retail operations. The restructuring of the field organization and related changes in the company’s home office have resulted in the elimination of approximately 20 positions.

“Cracker Barrel is a strong and highly differentiated brand, and the combination of dining and shopping is integral to the guest experience,” Cochran says.

“We believe the organization changes announced today permit us to enhance the guest experience by putting operational decision-making closer to the guest.

“Once fully implemented, we expect these changes to generate approximately $5 million dollars of annual pretax savings, of which about 70 percent will be realized as reductions to general and administrative expenses, and the balance as reductions to other store operating expenses.

“We believe these changes will permit us to better leverage our cost structure as we continue to grow in the future.”

In recognizing the personal impact of this restructuring on those affected, Cochran says: “We thank these employees for their commitment and contributions to Cracker Barrel, in some cases over many years.”

All affected employees will receive severance pay in accordance with the company’s policies. The company estimates that severance and other charges related to these organization changes will reduce income from operations in the third quarter of the 2012 fiscal year by approximately $1.6 million, and reduce net earnings per diluted share by approximately $0.05. 

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