OPERATIONS

Charming Charlie’s exec named VP chief merchant of Dressbarn

BY Staff Writer

Suffern, N.Y. — Ascena Retail Group announced that Judith Langley has joined dressbarn as executive VP and chief merchandising officer.

Langley brings to Dressbarn extensive experience as a senior merchant and in product development. Most recently, she was executive VP and chief merchandising officer with Charming Charlie’s, a jewelry and accessories chain.

Previously, she was senior VP of design and trend at Kohl’s, where she oversaw product direction for 15 brands.

“Judi’s track record as a successful merchant with design expertise will be a tremendous asset to Dressbarn,” said Jeff Gerstel, president of Dressbarn. “I am pleased to welcome Judi to Dressbarn’s team and look forward to the leadership, creativity, and vision she will bring to our brand’s transformation.”

Games, giveaways, book signings and personalized recommendations will be offered as part of “Discovery Friday,” event Barnes & Noble has planned for Nov. 22 to pre-empt the doorbuster madness that will occur the following week on Black Friday.

All of the retailer’s stores nationwide will participate in the Discovery Friday event which Barnes & Noble said was created to serve as the official launch of the holiday shopping season and help customers experience the thrill of discovering the perfect gifts for friends and family. On Discovery Friday, Barnes & Noble’s said its booksellers will be on the front lines to provide personalized recommendations at its nearly 700 stores, an experience that Amazon.com can’t rival.

“Barnes & Noble offers the ultimate holiday shopping experience for customers who enjoy the art of discovery, appreciate the human touch and recognize that the best recommendations don’t come from an algorithm,” said Mitchell Klipper, CEO of the Barnes & Noble Retail Group. “Discovery Friday shines a light on our 40,000 booksellers, undeniably our greatest asset, and also celebrates our customers by bringing the spirit of fun and discovery to their holiday shopping experience.”

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Report: Women still underrepresented on retail boards

BY Marianne Wilson

Washington, D.C. — Women account for 18.4% of directors serving on the boards of the world’s largest retail and consumer products companies globally, according to the latest Corporate Women Directors International (CWDI) report on Women Board Directors of Top Retail and Consumer Products Companies Globally.

This industry percentage reflects a better record of appointing women to board directorships than the 15% women’s representation on the boards of Fortune Global 200 companies. In addition, over a third of companies surveyed have gone beyond tokenism and have three or more women on their boards. However, the numbers are not where they need to be given women’s aggregate market impact.

"There is no industry where women play a more dominant role as workers, producers and consumers than the retail and consumer products industry," says CWDI Chair Irene Natividad. "With women making 85% of buying decisions in the U.S. and 65% globally, many more companies now recognize women’s buying power and have increased their appointments of women to board seats, but there are still laggards who don’t see the business rationale."

The report includes 168 retail/consumer products companies with at least $1 billion in annual revenue from 26 different countries. Among the top 15 best performers with the highest percentage of women directors, U.S. companies dominate, with Avon Products ranking first worldwide with 60% of its Board being female. With at least a third of board seats held by women, other U.S. best performing retail/consumer goods companies include Procter & Gamble, Estee Lauder, Macy’s, Williams-Sonoma, TJX Inc., Hormel Foods, PVH Corporation, Campbell Soup, Coach Inc., Foot Locker, General Mills, and Office Depot.

The study found that the percentage of women executive officers in retail/consumer products companies does not equal the percentage of women board directors. Among the companies surveyed, only 12.6% of executive officer positions are held by women, 5.8% lower than the percentage of women board directors in this industry.

In order to increase the number of women in the pipeline for board seats, the report calls for more programs to advance women up the corporate ladder from middle management to C-suite positions.

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Belk plans 8 p.m. Thanksgiving opening

BY Dan Berthiaume

Charlotte, N.C. — Belk stores will open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. From 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 28 through 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29, stores will offer more than 350 early bird specials while quantities last The promotion will feature hundreds of special deals in every department.

The first 250 customers at each store at the 8 p.m. opening on Thanksgiving will receive a free Belk gift card with a value ranging from $5 to $1,000, and with a guaranteed $1,000 gift card winner in each of the company’s 301 stores.

"Thanksgiving is a holiday centered around good food, family and friends," said Jon Pollack, Belk, Inc. executive VP, sales promotion, marketing and e-commerce. "Over the years that tradition has evolved into one that includes shopping and other activities that families enjoy together outside of the home. It’s in response to that trend that we open our doors to customers at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night for their shopping convenience. The Belk After-Thanksgiving Sale is our biggest, most exciting event of the season and an opportunity for customers to purchase their favorite brands and gift items at incredible savings."
Other retailers planning to open stores at some point on Thanksgiving include Kmart, Sears, Macy’s, Kohl’s, Toys “R” Us, J.C. Penney, and Best Buy.

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