Executive Briefing

Foxtrot has a new CEO. What’s changing and what isn’t?

And: A few notes from Aesop’s $2.5 billion sale.

Foxtrot CEO Liz Williams
Foxtrot CEO Liz Williams / Courtesy Foxtrot

Foxtrot, the modern convenience store chain, has a new CEO: Liz Williams, who joined the company last summer as CFO and president. Williams, who was previously the CEO of Drybar and Taco Bell’s CFO and president of international, replaces Foxtrot co-founder Mike LaVitola, who is now the company’s chairman.

Foxtrot, founded a decade ago in Chicago, is an ambitious and thoughtful take on the corner store: Part neighborhood market, part all-day café, part wine boutique, with digital competence. It’s, as I detailed last year in a lengthy report, one of the most interesting and best executed retail concepts I’ve seen in a long time.

With 26 stores in four markets — Chicago, greater DC, Dallas, and most recently Austin — it’s also in the early stages of what could eventually become a national expansion.

But this is a weird time to be in the early stages of national expansion: In addition to the major shifts in the growth-capital and commercial real estate markets, consumers still haven’t returned to many pre-pandemic habits and patterns. The corporate key-card provider Kastle’s return-to-office barometer is still stuck around 50%; higher in Austin, lower in DC. Staffing — hiring, training, and retention — is also still a big challenge across retail and restaurants.

So I was curious if Williams, in her new role, planned to make any big shifts to Foxtrot’s strategy. Would the made-to-order café program get pared back in favor of pre-made grab-and-go? Smaller stores with less seating? Is an evening wine bar still a good idea?

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Dan Frommer

Hi, I’m Dan Frommer and this is The New Consumer, a publication about how and why people spend their time and money.

I’m a longtime tech and business journalist, and I’m excited to focus my attention on how technology continues to profoundly change how things are created, experienced, bought, and sold. The New Consumer is supported by your membership — join now to receive my reporting, analysis, and commentary directly in your inbox, via my member-exclusive newsletter. Thanks in advance.

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