Five Below hires Internet-savvy execs

Five Below is new to the Atlanta area, with bargain priced items aimed at the teen and pre-teen market, all in the $1.00 to $5.00 price range. The Philadelphia-based retailer has opened stores throughout the area. (Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/MCT)

Five Below, the fast-growing Philadelphia-based retailer to middle-school children, on Tuesday hired a couple of national retail executives with high-tech experience in a bid to expand its electronic presence and juice the company's shares.

Five Below's share price is down more than 30 percent since peaking above $54 last fall.

Joel Anderson, who ran, the online arm of the nation's biggest retailer, was named Five Below's president, reporting to CEO and co-founder Tom Vellios. Anderson will head Five Below's merchandising, store operations and marketing, the company said.

Anderson brings "the experience of a senior executive of a multi-billion-dollar that has been growing at double-digit levels, to a company [Five Below] that does not have an e-commerce platform," analyst David Strasser wrote in a report to clients of Philadelphia-based Janney Capital Markets.

The move looks like "the first strategic step," Strasser added, in making good on Five Below's promise to expand beyond stores into an "omni-channel presence," reaching kids on smartphones and the Internet and beyond its 338-store network. Anderson is also a veteran of Toys R Us and Target.

Five Below also named Eric Specter as chief administrative officer. Specter previously served as "chief integration officer" at New York-based Ascena Retail Group (they own Dress Barn) and acting president of its Catherines chain. Specter will be in charge of supply chain, info tech and real estate.


New PNC boss

PNC Financial Services Group, of Pittsburgh, has named Paula Fryland as the new head of its Philadelphia-area banking region, replacing veteran Philadelphia banker William Mills, who will retire.

Fryland, a former PNC Healthcare chief and Rutgers graduate, had headed PNC's Raleigh-based region for the past two years.

Building on PNC's local base at the former Provident National Bank, Mills led PNC's campaign to attract high-end business and government clients following the mergers that eliminated its major locally based competitors. PNC is the biggest bank based in Pennsylvania and ranks among the 10 largest in the U.S.


Student deal

Dorm Room Fund, the "student-run investment fund" started by Philadelphia-based First Round Capital partner Josh Kopelman two years ago, says its first investment - "co-browsing" software-maker Firefly, of Philadelphia - has agreed to be purchased later this year by business software maker Pegasystems, of Cambridge, Mass.

The price was not disclosed. Pegasystems reported "acquisition costs" and some other expenses from the deal would shave up to 2 cents a share, or $1.5 million, from its earnings this year. Kopelman said that Dorm Room Fund had invested $20,000 and that the sale was profitable. Firefly was founded by Penn students Dan Shipper and Justin Meltzer.