Petco unleashes new leadership to grow small-format stores

Petco (NASDAQ:PETC) has promoted Brad Weston to president of its Unleashed by Petco subsidiary in San Diego. In his new role, Weston will drive all future strategy and operations for Unleashed by Petco, the chain's division of roughly 100 small-format neighborhood stores.

Unleashed stores provide a narrow assortment of mostly dog and cat products with a focus on natural foods and brands "made in the USA." These smaller-format locations also offer services such as dog training, vaccination clinics and pet parties, as well as grooming and self-service pet washing at select locations.

Petco introduced Unleashed by Petco in 2009. A total of 38 new Unleashed stores were opened throughout the U.S. in 2013.

Weston, who has been serving as exec-VP and CMO, will continue to lead merchandising for the Petco brand. He joined Petco in October 2011 and has worked closely with Petco's store operations team to drive product leadership and customer engagement strategies. Prior to his Petco post, Weston held various leadership positions in merchandising for other retailers, including Dick's Sporting Goods, Golf Galaxy and Robinsons-May.

Many retailers are experimenting with new, smaller-format stores as a way to attract in-store shoppers and build more locations in urban areas. DSW (NYSE:DSW) known for its massive, warehouse-style shoe outlets, is experimenting with more small-format stores. The company plans to build 34 new Yellow Box standalone stores in fiscal 2014.

Walmart (NYSE:WMT) has also been actively exploring the small-format store expansions. The company opened its first Walmart to Go convenience store on March 15 in Bentonville, Ark., and is also testing several 2,500-square-foot, college-based convenience retail outlets called Walmart on Campus. In February, Walmart announced plans to build 270 to 300 small stores in the next 12 months, doubling its initial forecast of 120 to 150.

For more:
-See this Petco press release

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