Columbus Consulting, a retail advisory specialist, supported Christmas Tree Shops with a post-divestment information technology function carve-out.
In 2020, Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) sold off Christmas Tree Shops as the company sought to divest non-core assets during the Covid-19 pandemic. BBBY sold the specialty retail chain – which it had acquired in 2003 – to Pam and Marc Salkovitz for $250 million in November 2020, returning the brand to private ownership. Christmas Tree Shops (CTS) had 80 locations in 20 states and 5,700 employees at the time of acquisition.
The Salkovitzes needed external support to help CTS achieve IT independence from BBBY in a 12-month timeframe. They hired Columbus Consulting to develop an IT transition plan, define an organizational structure, identify necessary resources, and establish costs and capital expense for the transition and aftermath. The Columbus-based consulting firm was also tapped to oversee program management for the transition.
The consulting team and CTS successfully turned 90% of the portfolio of 80+ software systems and services by November 2021 – with minor disruption to stores. CTS plans to also integrate a new customer loyalty program into its standalone IT system this year.
“What we accomplished together in such a short time was against all odds,” said Pam Salkovitz, co-owner of CTS. “The support from Columbus allowed us enough breathing room to onboard a whole new IT team who will now continue to move CTS forward.”
Katrina Mossman, managing partner of Columbus, added, “Many retailers don’t see the real value in investing in technology as a strategic initiative, but Marc and Pam did and are now in a position to accelerate their business and merchandising plans.”
Columbus Consulting was founded two decades ago and has worked with more than 250 companies in the consumer and retail space, including Starbucks, Target, Walmart, and Nike. The firm’s 90+ professionals advise on strategy and transformation initiatives across commerce, merchandising, inventory management, sourcing, operations, data & analytics, information technology, and people & organization.
Columbus last year worked with Malin+Goetz on a digital transformation initiative.