OPERATIONS

Deen’s retail troubles continue

BY Dan Berthiaume

Plano, Texas — J.C. Penney became the latest retail chain to say it will stop selling products associated with celebrity chef Paula Deen following her admission she has made racially derogatory remarks.

In addition, Ballantine Books has ended an agreement with her to publish five books. That agreement included "Paula Deen’s New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up,” which was scheduled for release in October 2013 and had reached number one in presales on Amazon.com and the Barnes and Noble website.

Sears, Kmart, The Home Depot, Target and Walgreens have all also either removed or said they would phase out her products in their brick-and-mortar locations and/or online. Kohls and Macy’s, which also sell Deen products, so far have not severed ties with her.

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OfficeMax expands private label offering

BY Dan Berthiaume

Naperville, Ill. – OfficeMax Inc. is expanding its offering of private-label writing products by 75%. The new products include pens, mechanical pencils, highlighters and permanent markers. OfficeMax is offering more private label writing items while it is also restyling existing ones.

"Our new and re-styled OfficeMax brand writing products round out our private brand solutions to meet a variety of price points and writing needs for our customers," said Ronald Lalla, executive VP, chief merchandising officer at OfficeMax.

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The Knot parent names Steib president

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – XO Group Inc., parent company of wedding/baby-themed e-commerce brands such as The Knot, The Bump and ijie.com, has named Michael Steib president, effective July 1. Steib most recently served as CEO of Vente-Privee USA, an e-commerce venture backed by American Express, and also held digital executive positions at companies including Google and NBC Universal.

"I’m thrilled that Mike is joining XO Group,” said David Liu, CEO of XO Group. His background building and leading successful businesses around digital platforms and marketplaces is exactly what we need to continue disrupting the wedding industry. Our goal is to tap into a greater portion of the $70 billion wedding market than our current business does today. Mike gives us fresh perspective and a track record of rigorous execution, both of which will help us drive the success of our ambitious mission."

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