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Rue21 ‘go-shop’ period expires without bid

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Warrendale, Pa. — Rue21 Inc. said Wednesday that the “go-shop” period that would have allowed it to be sold to an alternate buyer has expired, edging the specialty apparel and accessories chain closer to a deal with Apax Partners.

In May, Rue21 reached a deal to sell itself to Apax for nearly $1 billion; terms allowed the retailer to shop competing bids until July 2. Although 60 potential buyers were contacted, none submitted a competing bid to acquire the company.

Rue21 also said Wednesday that the Federal Trade Commission granted early termination to the deal’s anti-trust waiting period, allowing it to go forward.

If approved by shareholders, the deal with Apax is expected to close by the end of 2013.

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Restoration Hardware tries on apparel brand, edits exec team

BY CSA STAFF

CORTE MADERA, Calif. — Restoration Hardware is a company one tends to associate with high-end home furnishings, but the company is expanding into new territory. RH recently launched Hierarchy — an apparel, accessories and footwear brand — and has edited its executive leadership team as a result.

The company has re-appointed Gary Friedman, the company’s chairman emeritus, creator and curator, co-CEO and chairman of the company’s board of directors. Friedman will return to his prior role at the company alongside Carlos Alberini, who has also been named co-CEO. Friedman and Alberini together will lead and collaborate on all key strategic decisions impacting the company.

Concurrent with Friedman’s appointment, RH has acquired the exclusive right to develop Hierarchy. The new concept will be rebranded as RH Atelier and will focus on the development of luxury apparel, accessories, footwear and jewelry, and be integrated and launched on the RH platform.

“Gary’s unique vision, creativity and passion have been invaluable to the growth and transformation of RH,” said former chairman Michael Chu. “Gary and Carlos are a tremendous team and together have made significant contributions to the success of the company. On behalf of our board of directors, we are excited about the future growth and evolution of the RH brand under their leadership."

“During the last few years, Gary and I have built an incredible partnership,” said Alberini. “Gary is a visionary with amazing talents who has led the extraordinary transformation of RH into one of the leading luxury brands in the market today. On behalf of our leadership team, I am thrilled to welcome Gary back into this role and look forward to the opportunity to continue this journey together.”

“I am honored to be rejoining Carlos and the entire RH team in our quest to create the most innovative and inspiring brand in the industry,” added Friedman. “This team’s ability to curate and integrate new products, businesses and experiences, then scale them across our multichannel platform has enabled us to build one of the fastest growing brands in the marketplace.”

RH Atelier will be based in New York City, and have a satellite office in the RH Center of Innovation and Product Leadership in Corte Madera, Calif.

Prior to his appointment to the role of chairman emeritus, creator and curator, Friedman served as chairman and co-CEO of Restoration Hardware from June 2010 to Oct. 2012 and served as the company’s CEO since March 2001. Prior to joining the company, Friedman spent 13 years at Williams-Sonoma, where he served as president and COO from 2000 to 2001, as CMO and president of retail stores from 1995 to 2000 and as EVP of the company and president of the Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn brands from 1993 to 1995. Previously, Friedman spent 11 years with the Gap in various leadership positions.

Alberini was appointed ceo of RH in Oct. 2012. Prior to that, he served as Co-CEO upon joining the company in June 2010. Alberini has served as a director of the company since June 2010. Prior to joining the company, he was president and COO of Guess, a publicly traded specialty retailer of apparel and accessories, from Dec. 2000 to June 2010. From Oct. 1996 to Dec. 2000, Alberini served as SVP and CFO of Footstar, Inc., a footwear retailer. From May 1995 to Oct. 1996, Alberini served as VP of finance and acting CFO of the Melville Corporation, a retail holding corporation. From 1987 to 1995 he was with the Bon Ton Stores, an operator of department stores, in various capacities, including VP, corporate controller and SVP, CFO. Prior to that, Alberini served in various positions at PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP.

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Bob’s Stores gets new CEO from Carter’s

BY CSA STAFF

James Petty has joined private equity owned Vestis Retail Group as CEO, effective July 8, to drive new growth opportunities.

Petty joins Vestis, parent company of Bob’s Stores and Eastern Mountain Sports, after serving since 2007 as president of retail stores for Carter’s Inc. Petty left Carter’s last December after a restructuring resulted in Carter’s relocating its retail group to its Atlanta headquarters from Connectticut. Prior to Carter’s, Petty held senior roles at Limited Too and Gap, Inc.

He replaces current Vestis CEO Mark Walsh who also serves as a managing director of Versa Capital Management, the private equity firm that owns Vestis. Walsh will remain as chairman of Vestis and said, "we’re pleased to welcome Jim Petty to Vestis, and believe he is the right leader for the company at this point in time."

The hiring Petty is intended to help regional operators Bob’s Stores and Eastern Mountain Sports achieve a new level of growth and success, according to Gregory Segall, CEO of Versa.

"This is a long-planned and natural leadership transition at this stage of Vestis’s development," Segall said. "Throughout the past five years, Mark has done a tremendous job in realizing the potential at Bob’s and he led the acquisition and initial transformation at EMS, positioning it for growth. We’re looking forward to Mark’s contributions to our existing and future investments in the Versa portfolio of companies."

Bob’s Stores, based in Meriden, Conn., was founded in 1954 and operates 35 stores in six northeastern states. The product assortment at Bob’s is focused on casual fashion, denim, active wear, team wear and footwear offered at affordable prices. Eastern Mountain Sports, based in Peterborough, N.H., was founded in 1967 and operates 68 stores in 12 states where it is focused on outdoor categories with origins in climbing sports.

Their private equity owner Versa is based in Philadelphia where it oversees investments totaling $1.2 billion. The firm said it is focused on control investments in special situations involving middle market companies where value and performance growth can be achieved through enhanced operational and financial management.

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