OPERATIONS

Advance Auto names head of Midwest store operations

BY Staff Writer

Roanoke, Va. — Advance Auto Parts has announced the promotion of Markus Hockenson to senior VP store operations, effective April 1.

Hockenson will be responsible for providing strategic direction and leadership to the company’s Midwestern operations, which includes more than 1,200 stores. Hockenson will report to Carl Hauch, senior VP national operations and will be based in Denver.

Hockenson joined Advance in September 2008 as regional VP. Prior to joining Advance, he served with Starbucks where he most recently had region-wide responsibility for project management of key company programs and held several other positions, including district manager.

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FINANCE

Report: Sears to sell off Lands’ End

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — Multiple reports on Thursday said that Sears Holdings Corp. is considering a sale of its Lands’ End mail-order catalog business, as part of its move to raise up to $2 billion.

The New York Post reported that Sears is in talks with several private-equity firms about the potential sale.

Sears chief Eddie Lampert is said to be likely to hire Goldman Sachs to find a buyer for Lands’ End.

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OPERATIONS

H&M launching new retail chain in 2013

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Stockholm, Sweden — Swedish fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz AB confirmed Thursday that it will open a new chain in 2013 that will build on the 2007 launch of its upscale Collection of Style (COS). No name for the new concept has been revealed yet.

"Like COS, which today is very successful with good profitability, the new chain of stores will be independent and complement the other offerings from the group," H&M CEO Karl-Johan Persson said. "We have great faith in this new brand and we see considerable potential for further initiatives."

Meanwhile, the company opened its first namebrand store in Sofia, Bulgaria, earlier in March, and plans to have opened other stores in Bulgaria, Latvia, Malaysia, Mexico and — through a franchise — Thailand by the end of 2012.

H&M also reported Thursday that net profit for the quarter rose to $411 million, from $393 million in the same period a year earlier.

Stockholm-based H&M said net sales rose to $4.17 billion, from $3.68 billion a year ago. Profit results, which H&M blamed on higher cotton prices, missed analysts’ expectations.

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