OPERATIONS

Barneys settles racial profiling case

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — Barneys New York has settled its profiling and racial discrimination case, agreeing to pay $525,000 and implement measures to address potential future profiling chances.

The retailer’s Madison Avenue store has been under investigation by the New York State Attorney General’s office for the past nine months.

“Profiling and racial discrimination remain a problem in our state, but not one we are willing to accept,” Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement. “This agreement will continue our work to ensure there’s one set of rules for everyone in public accommodations, including customers in New York’s retail establishments.”

The investigation began after two African American shoppers sued the store and the city, following a shopping trip to Barneys and a subsequent stop by police. In April 2013, Trayon Christian, then an 18-year-old college student, bought a $350 Ferragamo belt with his debit card and left the store. Two undercover police officers requested to see receipts and allegedly told Christian “that he could not afford to make such an expensive purchase.”

After Christian’s encounter became public, Kayla Phillips said she, too, had been profiled under similar circumstances.

The attorney general found that Barneys maintained inadequate records of stops made by their loss-prevention employees, but despite these lapses, existing records showed a disproportionate number of African American and Latino customers were detained for alleged shoplifting or credit card fraud.

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OPERATIONS

Sears Holdings names Tesco exec as Kmart’s president and chief member officer

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — Sears Holdings announced that Alasdair James has joined the company as president and chief member officer for the Kmart business.

James is a seven-year veteran of Tesco, where he held roles of increasing responsibility, most recently as commercial director for the company’s global business unit. Prior to that, he spent two years managing Tesco’s China operations as executive VP and commercial director.

According to Sears Holdings, James will be responsible for driving the Kmart format strategy, managing the Kmart P&L, and aligning merchandise, marketing, pricing and selling with the needs and wants of Shop Your Way members.

"Alasdair will work closely with me and our business unit leaders to understand the preferences of Shop Your Way members who shop at Kmart," said Edward S. Lampert, Sears Holdings chairman and CEO. "He will be responsible for the Kmart strategy, its performance and its continued transformation as an integrated retail format."

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Ed Krell resigns from Destination Maternity CEO post

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Philadelphia — Capping a turbulent summer for maternity apparel retailers, Destination Maternity CEO Ed Krell has resigned effective immediately, and will be replaced by Anthony Romano, former CEO of Charming Shoppes, Inc.

Krell’s departure was announced less than two weeks after his company’s unsuccessful takeover of rival retailer Mothercare. The $446 million offer by Destination Maternity was deemed too low, prompting Krell to say he was “disappointed that the shareholders of Mothercare have not supported our proposal," and that Destination Maternity would not be raising the bid.

Krell started his tenure at Destination Maternity as CFO in 2002 and has served in the chief executive spot since 2008.

"After leading the team that significantly strengthened the company over the past six years as CEO, the board and I decided that this was a logical time for a change in leadership at the company, and a logical time for me to pursue other opportunities,” said Krell in a statement.

Incoming CEO Romano, 52, joined Charming Shoppes in 2009 as executive VP and was named CEO in 2011, leading a turnaround of the struggling retailer that delivered the first operating profit in four years and, ultimately, a sale to Ascena Retail Group in May 2012. Romano remained president and CEO of Charming Shoppes post-sale, departing in March 2013.

"I look forward to working with the company’s many talented employees to grow the business by deepening our understanding of our customers and translating this knowledge into even more exciting collections and experiences," said Romano of his new position with Destination Maternity.

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