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Hudson’s Bay Co. appoints new ceo, gets acquired by NRDC

BY CSA STAFF

TORONTO On July 17, Richard Baker, governor of Hudson’s Bay Co., announced that the organization would appoint Jeffrey Sherman as ceo. Sherman was president and coo of the Polo Ralph Lauren Retail Group.

A day earlier, the NRDC Equity Partners and True North Retail Investments, an affiliate of The InterTech Group, and the owner of Hudson’s Bay, announced  the completion of NRDC’s purchase of HBC. NRDC already owns Lord & Taylor, Fortunoff and Creative Design Studios, and will consolidate those properties with HBC under a holding company called the Hudson’s Bay Trading Company.

Combined retail sales of the companies will be $8 billion. Baker will serve as ceo of the Hudson’s Bay Trading Company. Among the consequences of the deal will be the introduction of the Lord & Taylor banner into Canada–10 to 15 units are initially planned and will fill a gap between HBC’s The Bay and Holt Renfrew–and an increasing focus on the department store business, specifically, but also a general effort to move the overall HBC enterprise, including discount store banner Zellers, upmarket.

“By acquiring Hudson’s Bay Co. along with previous acquisitions Lord & Taylor and Fortunoff, we will have an unprecedented opportunity to recreate the retail landscape in North America,” said Baker. “Enormous potential exists by upgrading the offerings at both The Bay and Zellers and by bringing Lord & Taylor, Fortunoff & CDS into the mix,” he added.

NRDC Equity Partners will invest $500 million in new equity into the newly-formed HBCT entity. NRDC has been an HBC minority owner with the Zucker Family, primary owner of True North. Baker has been an HBC board member since 2006.

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Exclusive: Ideastox encourages customer participation in business operations

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK The silver lining in any economic downturn is that it unleashes pent-up ideas that might not get a hearing while companies pursue growth trends–the very trends that get undermined by business cycle downswings.

Ideastox and its founder and ceo Adrienne Becker look forward to a more participatory relationship between businesses and their customers as the wheel turns through its latest retrograde and starts spinning up again. Already, retailers such as Staples, with its Innovation Quest contest, and Wal-Mart, with its initiatives to tap its associates in establishing sustainability programs, have demonstrated that gaining insight from a broad, interested audience can lead to actionable new ideas and, at the same time, enhance enthusiasm among those who make up that audience.

The site www.Ideastox.com encourages participants across the Web to develop ideas to a range of problems from the technical to the everyday. The ideas may be from people with an expertise, such as a carpenter proposing pre-fab structures, or those who see a better way of dealing with issues they commonly confront, such as a recent college graduate posing a better way to display grab-and-go products for folks who want to make the most of their evenings.

Looking forward, Becker said retailers can get ahead of the idea curve by taking initiatives designed to tap and excite grassroots energy and extending them to as wide an audience as possible using concepts such as Ideastox.

While a lot of retailer energy right now is going into keeping organizations battened down through turbulent times, those who are thinking now about smooth seas ahead, and what kind of winds will be driving the next growth phase of the economy, could seize an important advantage.

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Stride Rite opens new format in NYC

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK The Stride Rite Children’s Group, a subsidiary of Collective Brands, has announced the launch of a new store format, Collections by Stride Rite(TM), which combines separate, dedicated shopping areas for kids seven to ten years old, with an environment for parents to shop for baby and toddler shoes.

The 1,800-square-foot store is located at 1542 3rd Ave at 87th Street in New York City. Stride Rite said it has plans to roll out similar stores later this year in select high-fashion shopping locations.

The store features a dedicated shopping environment for youth at the front with fun colors, hip lighting, and displays of “grown-up” must-have styles from the Stride Rite portfolio. Towards the back of the store, the environment transitions to a softer atmosphere more suitable for babies and toddlers. Dividing the two sections is the cash wrap and the Stride Rite custom 3D Fit Machine, a system that captures the full 3D shape of a child’s foot.

“Collections by Stride Rite recognizes the significant range of branded products we now carry in our stores for children zero to 10 years old,” said Pam Salkovitz, president of the Stride Rite Children’s Group. “The new store format is tailored to the different shopping needs of parents with babies and toddlers from that of youth up to 10 years old. We have created a front-of-store area dedicated to youth and a shopping area tailored to baby shoe shopping in the back of the store. We believe this offers a fabulous and convenient shopping experience tailored to the needs of growing families.”

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