OPERATIONS

NRF: Retail employment grows in March

BY Staff Writer

Washington, D.C. — Retail employment increased 18,200 in March and 229,000 year-over-year, according to the National Retail Federation. The increase is consistent with recent positive economic indicator reports and bodes well for income and consumer confidence as the industry enters into the busy spring selling season.

“We’re encouraged by the progression seen in March related to hiring and other indicators that point to overall economic growth,” said NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “First quarter results have been less than stellar thus far thanks to a variety of factors, including unusually bad weather in almost every part of the country. As the year progresses, I expect the job market to strengthen, which will put consumers in a position to feel even more confident about spending, bolstering the sub-par economic recovery.”


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News

Ex-Office Depot exec joins PFSweb board

BY CSA STAFF

Former Office Depot executive Monica Luechtefeld has joined the board of e-commerce solutions provider PFSweb.

Luechetfeld spent 20 years at Office Depot serving in a variety of leadership roles in the areas of e-commerce, supply chain, information technology, marketing and business development. She left Office Depot in 2012 after holding senior roles such as EVP of European e-commerce, EVP of e-commerce and digital marketing and founded her own consulting firm. Luechetfeld was also a founding member of the National Retail Federation’s Shop.org organization.

"Monica is a recognized industry leader in e-commerce and digital media," said Mike Willoughby, CEO of PFSweb. "(Her) impressive operations, technology, business development and online retail experience in the U.S. and Europe will be a valuable asset to our organization. Coupled with her vast array of industry affiliations, we are eager to leverage her experience as we grow our global presence and align our services to support current and future client needs. We look forward to Monica’s strategic input as we continue to evolve PFSweb’s e-commerce offering as a premier omnichannel commerce solution in the market."

PFSweb is an international business process outsourcing provider of end-to-end e-commerce solutions. The company provides solutions and services to help companies optimize their supply chain and enhance traditional and online business channels, which include both direct-to-consumer and business-to-business sales channels.

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FINANCE

Xcel Brands acquires Judith Ripka

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Xcel Brands announced that it has acquired fine jewelry and watch brand Judith Ripka for approximately $22.5 million.

Xcel currently owns Isaac Mizrahi New York and has an interest in the Liz Claiborne New York brand.

"We are excited by the opportunity to work with Judith Ripka and her distinctive designs; the Judith Ripka Brand embodies our core mission of delivering products of uncompromising quality,” said Robert W. D’Loren, Xcel’s chairman and CEO. “We see a tremendous potential for engaging Judith’s brand followers across new product categories, leveraging our omnichannel strategy. This acquisition satisfied all of our acquisition criteria; it’s strategic, synergistic, and accretive."

Judith Ripka will serve as the brand’s chief designer.

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