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Greg Johnson Retiring at Bealls

BeallsBRADENTON, Fla.–This time Greg Johnson says it’s for good.

Johnson announced last week that he would be retiring as vice president and general merchandise at Bealls Department Store here at the end of this week. Johnson retired once before 11 years ago but came back to retailing seven years ago to join Bealls.

The long-time industry retailing veteran said about his first retirement, “It didn’t stick.”

Johnson’s successor has not been announced.

His 43-year career at retail—all of it in home—began as a trainee with A&S in Brooklyn and took him to a number of department stores around the country, including Gimble’s, Hecht’s and Kaufman’s, eventually becoming GMM for home at Burdines in Florida.

He then became president of Waccamaw Pottery and stayed as president after it merged with HomePlace. The combined store was a home superstore competing with Bed Bath & Beyond and Linens ’n Things, but eventually went out of business in the early 2000s. That’s when Johnson retired the first time before going to Bealls.

Johnson said he still sees a strong future for brick-and-mortar retailing. “The challenge is how do you make the store unique and exciting, how do you keep getting your customers to come back to the store. You have to emphasize fashion and you have to keep updating it continually.”

He’s proud of his time at Bealls, which as a regional player with both department store and outlet formats has prospered. “This is a phenomenal company and they’ve been very supportive about my move. I have no regrets about retiring and this time it’s going to stick.”