OPERATIONS

Bob’s Stores/EMS parent names Petty CEO

BY Staff Writer

Meriden, Conn. – Vestis Retail Group, parent company of Bob’s Stores and Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS), has named James Petty as CEO effective July 8, 2013. Petty most recently served as president of retail stores for Cartier Inc. from 2007 to December 2012 and left the company after it relocated its retail group headquarters from Connecticut to Georgia. He also previously held executive positions at Limited Too and Gap Inc.

He replaces current Vestis CEO Mark Walsh who also serves as a managing director of Versa Capital Management, the private equity firm that owns Vestis. Walsh will remain as chairman of Vestis.

"This is a long-planned and natural leadership transition at this stage of Vestis’s development," said Gregory Segall, CEO of Versa. "Over the past five years, Mark has done a tremendous job in realizing the potential at Bob’s and he led the acquisition and initial transformation at EMS, positioning it for growth. We’re looking forward to Mark’s contributions to our existing and future investments in the Versa portfolio of companies."

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Former exec of Tiffany & Co. charged with stealing

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Federal authorities have arrested a former Tiffany & Co. executive, charging her with stealing more than $1 million in jewelry and then reselling it for $1.3 million.

According to reports, Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun was arrested at her home in Darien, Conn. She was charged with wire fraud and interstate transportation of stolen property by the FBI, and could face up to 30 years in prison.

The former VP of product development, Lederhaas-Okun had authority to "check out" jewelry from Tiffany to provide to potential manufacturers to determine production costs. Prosecutors claim that from January 2011 to February 2013, she checked out 165 pieces of jewelry, including diamond bracelets and platinum and gold earrings, and then sold them to an unnamed jewelry reseller in Manhattan.

“Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun went from a vice president at a high-end jewelry company to jewel thief,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, in the FBI statement.

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Walmart launches social media-inspired ‘Get on the Shelf’ program

BY Staff Writer

New York — Walmart has launched the latest installment of its social media-inspired merchandising initiative known as, “Get on the Shelf.”

The program, developed by the company’s digital think tank @WalmartLabs, affords entrepreneurs the ability to have their product featured on Walmart.com and possibly in select Walmart stores. The company issued an open call to anyone with an interesting product to enter between now and July 31 by submitting a video to https://getontheshelf.walmart.com.

"We’re calling on entrepreneurs and inventors from across the country to help us discover the next big thing. In return, Walmart is giving them exposure to millions of potential customers," said Joel Anderson, president and CEO of Walmart.com. "Get on the Shelf taps into the spirit of American innovation and gives our customers a voice in selecting the products that will help them live better."

Businesses and product developers can submit entries for products that complement the assortment of items sold on Walmart.com, such as electronics, home, toys and apparel. All entries will be screened by Walmart merchants before the public is asked to vote on their favorite products later this summer. Then, Walmart merchants will select up to 20 product finalists that will be featured in an original web series produced by VIMBY, The Mark Burnett Digital Studio. The weekly web series will be available at https://getontheshelf.walmart.com and the public vote will determine each week’s winning item.

Through this process, up to five winning products will be chosen to be sold on Walmart.com. One or more of these winners will be selected as a grand prize winner based on the number of online pre-orders from customers, and could potentially be sold in select Walmart stores.

By all accounts last year’s program was a success with more than 5,000 entries received and more than one million votes from across the country. Last year’s grand price winner was Humankind Water and runners up included PlateTopper and SnapIt Eyeglass Repair Kit.

The Get on the Shelf platform was created by @WalmartLabs, the technology arm of Walmart Global eCommerce which designed it to be scalable and robust enough to process a high level of product entries, votes and traffic. Since the initial U.S. Get on the Shelf contest in 2012, the platform was used to source greeting card designs, which were submitted and voted upon by customers.

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