OPERATIONS

Newk’s Eatery names director of development; 12 restaurants on tap

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Jackson, Miss. — Fresh casual restaurant brand Newk’s Eatery announced the hire of two new support center team members who will assist in the national expansion of the brand.

After nine years in business, Newk’s Eatery has entered a renewed growth mode, with 12 new restaurant locations planned to open before year end 2013. Newk’s currently operates and franchises 59 units in 11 states.

Gary Brem, a 34-year food service construction veteran, has been named director of development, and Klara Smith, a 15-year legal industry professional, has been chosen as the company’s general counsel.

Brem will be handling concept-to-completion development of Newk’s expanding locations, including evaluating and recommending real estate sites for franchisee’s and company restaurants. Smith will support operational growth and development of new stores in the Newk’s system.

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OPERATIONS

Stuart Weitzman promotes vice chair to CEO; plans new stores

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Wayne Kulkin, former vice chairman of Stuart Weitzman, has been appointed CEO of the company, effective immediately. Kulkin will continue to report to Stuart Weitzman, executive chairman of Stuart Weitzman.

"Wayne has been a true partner over the last 23 years,” said Weitzman. “His passion, creativity and business acumen have been essential in driving our growth across diverse channels, and I am confident that Wayne will be equally instrumental in his new role as CEO.”

As CEO, Kulkin will focus on strategic global expansion and other growth opportunities for the Stuart Weitzman brand. In addition, Kulkin will assist with the selection of an executive team to support the brand’s growth initiatives and develop a strategic roadmap for the future of the brand.

Stuart Weitzman expects to conduct a major store expansion during the next three years and expects wholesale and e-commerce growth, licensing opportunities, and brand extensions. Planed new stores include an international flagship store in Milan, Italy opening later this month as well as stores opening in Hong Kong, Rome and New York City later this year. Stuart Weitzman currently has 100 freestanding stores, three e-commerce sites and 80 countries of distribution, and plans to launch an e-commerce site serving the Asia-Pacific region.

"I am honored and excited to step into the role of CEO to help position the Stuart Weitzman brand for continued growth and development across its many channels," said Kulkin.

Stuart Weitzman also announced that as part of its continued global expansion across all channels, Roberta Lee has joined the company in the newly created role of VP of marketing, Asia Pacific. Lee will be responsible for driving the development, implementation and overall communications strategy for Stuart Weitzman in the Asia Pacific region.

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OPERATIONS

Brands become fashionable with consumers

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – The importance of brand has increased tenfold for consumers in the past 17 years, currently standing at 30%. When the first wave of the Brand Keys Fashion Index was conducted in 1996, only 3% of U.S. apparel buyers felt fashion brands and their associated logos were of increasing importance to consumers.

Taking the top spots this year’s Brand Keys Fashion Index is one’s Favorite Sports Team, Armani, Nike, Ralph Lauren/Polo, and Burberry. Ralph Lauren/Polo moved from last year’s number one spot among women fashion buyers to number six this year, but only one spot down on the men’s list to number four.

“Brand Keys 2013 Fashion Brand Index findings demonstrate the continuing shared space between luxury and more casual, leisure apparel brands,” said Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys, Inc. “Fashion brands like Armani, Burberry, and YSL all moved up from an already respectable showing in the top 15, along with leisure brands like Nike (No. 3), J. Crew (No. 6) and Levis (No. 10). Uniqlo, which made the list for the first time in 2012, is in fourteenth place among male fashion buyers this year.

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