OPERATIONS

Sears Holdings names general counsel

BY Staff Writer

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — Sears Holdings announced today that Kristin M. Coleman will join the company as senior VP, general counsel and corporate secretary. Coleman most recently served as Brunswick Corporation’s VP, general counsel and corporate secretary.

Coleman will be responsible for the oversight and leadership of Sears Holdings’ legal business.

"I am pleased Kristin is joining our leadership team. She is a proven leader with experience managing legal, compliance and corporate governance issues," said Edward S. Lampert, Sears Holdings chairman and CEO. "Having started her career as a litigator and transitioning into corporate law, she brings a breadth and depth of experience to Sears Holdings in litigation and governance, including mergers and acquisitions and securities, which will serve us well as we continue on our path to transform the company."

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OPERATIONS

West Elm opens Indian fair trade rug factory; Bill Clinton visits

BY Dan Berthiaume

Brooklyn, N.Y. – In partnership with its largest rug supplier, Raj Overseas, West Elm has established a fair trade certified factory for handcrafted rugs in India. Fair trade certification ensures that the rugs are made in safe working conditions and that workers are justly compensated, delivering a premium back to the worker to invest in causes of their choice.

Employees at the West Elm fair trade factory have chosen to fund additional healthcare coverage. Fair trade certified rugs will be available this holiday season at West Elm retail locations and on its e-commerce site.

President Clinton recently visited West Elm’s corporate headquarters in Brooklyn to view West Elm’s work to support artisans around the world and offer handcrafted products under the brand’s 2013 Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action.

Additional projects and progress under West Elm’s consciousness initiatives and CGI Commitment to Action include:

  • In 2013, West Elm committed to purchasing $35 million in handcrafted products during the next two years. The brand has nearly met this goal in one year.
  • West Elm is building a network of artisan makers and currently working with more than 35 artisan groups in 15 countries. More than half of the artisans West Elm works with are women. The brand makes long-term commitments of three to five years to each maker.
  • To further support artisans, West Elm recently launched an adult literacy initiative in Haiti in partnership with the Clinton Foundation and ProDev, teaching artisans reading, writing, financial literacy, and vocational training. The brand hopes to replicate the program with additional vendors and in other countries, including the Philippines.
  • In August, West Elm will launch the We Love Local Small Business Grant as the next phase of its West Elm Local program. The grant, which will be awarded by West Elm with feedback from customers through online public voting, will go to one U.S. based small business and includes a $25,000 cash prize and ongoing business support from West Elm.

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OPERATIONS

NRF: Retail adds 27,800 jobs in June

BY Dan Berthiaume

Washington, D.C. – The National Retail Federation (NRF) calculated retail industry employment gains (excluding autos and gasoline) of 27,800 jobs in June 2014, compared to the prior month and 230,800 year-over-year. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation Summary showed that total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 288,000 in June, better than analysts’ and economists’ expectations.

The unemployment rate dropped to 6.1% as a result, while the civilian labor participation rate remained unchanged at 62.8%.

"Details in the national jobs report were uniformly positive and showed that the labor market continues to provide more muscle to a growing economy," said NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. "It should be noted that this is the strongest three-month trend since early 2012. The momentum in the labor market and retail job growth will translate into stronger expectations for the second half of 2014. This report sets the stage for job gains as we head into the busier retail season."

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