Retail Roundup—JCPenney sees holiday sales lift; Fresh Thyme slows expansion

Fresh Thyme will slow its expansion in 2018.

JCPenney's holiday sales up 3.4% 

The holidays were good to JCPenney, as the struggling retailer reported a 3.4% increase in sales for the 2017 holiday season. CEO Marvin Ellison said that the company's efforts to improve online sales, update women's apparel, improve home sales and add new categories helped finish the year strong. (The Dallas Morning News)

Fresh Thyme slows expansion

Fresh Thyme is slowing the rate of its new-store growth, according to CEO Chris Sherrell. The store will open 10 new locations in 2018, compared to 20 in 2017, to ensure long-term success. (Supermarket News)

Nest, Google partner for voice-activated energy commands

Reliant unveiled the Speak & Save 24 plan, which allows customers of Nest Thermostat E and Google Home to combine home technology and voice-activated commands to control energy usage. Customers who sign up for Reliant's plan will receive 24 months of price security, Nest Thermostat E and Google Home and will be able to change the temperature of their homes through voice commands. (Business Wire)

Office Depot appoints new CFO

Office Depot announced the appointment of Joseph Lower as executive vice president and CFO, effective Jan. 8. Lower succeeds Stephen Hare, who is retiring after four years in the role. (Business Wire)