OPERATIONS

Storefront partners with MTA to offer retail space in NYC subways

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Storefront, the online marketplace that connects artists, designers, and brands with retail space, has partnered with the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority to offer unique retail space for rent in the New York City Subway.

“Our partnership with Storefront reflects MTA’s commitment to pushing the bounds of vibrancy in the subway,” said David Bosch, MTA director of leasing and acquisitions. “Storefront helps us rent out our space by connecting us to local artists, designers and brands to access over 5.3 million daily subway riders.

Storefront already has hundreds of listings in New York that can be rented by the day, week or month — including space inside established retail stores and booths at markets and events — and MTA will add another 10 from their portfolio, which in total grosses over $70 million every year.

“MTA retail spaces bring a unique foot traffic advantage to the Storefront platform,” said Erik Eliason, CEO and co-founder of Storefront. “I call it the eyeball factor. After all, foot traffic is a necessity for retailer success, and we aim to set our vendors up for profitability.”

Overall, MTA has 6 retail spaces listed on Thestorefront.com.

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Stuart Weitzman names global president

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Stuart Weitzman, the luxury footwear brand owned by The Jones Group Inc., has appointed Francois Kress to the newly created position of global president.

Kress, formerly president and chief operating officer of The Row (New York), will oversee all aspects of the Weitzman brand’s global retail and wholesale business and he will assume the role of strategic leader for new initiatives and brand extensions.

Kress has more than 20 years of experience in both luxury retail and wholesale markets, including president and CEO of Prada and Miu Miu USA and CEO and managing director of Bulgari America. He also held senior roles with LVMH.

“We are building the next generation Stuart Weitzman brand,” said company CEO Wayne Kulkin. “Francois brings such a vast tool chest of luxury wholesale and retail experience to our company. We are all excited for the next steps of our brand.”

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Abercrombie renews CEO’s contract despite dissent; to hire brand presidents

BY Marianne Wilson

New Albany, Ohio — Abercrombie & Fitch Co. on Monday said it has entered into a new employment agreement with CEO Michael Jeffries, effective upon the expiration of his current contract on February 1, 2014. The new contract ties his compensation more closely with the company’s performance.

Jeffries was key to the retailer’s ascendance as a teen powerhouse. But the chain has struggled recently amid increased competition, particularly from more value-oriented teen favorites such as Forever 21. Jeffries himself has came under fire for his comments regarding the type of customers Abercrombie targets and why it does not offer plus sizes. Last week, Abercrombie investor Engaged Capital sent a letter to the board asking that Jeffries be replaced.

In announcing the decision to renew Jeffries’ contract, Craig Stapleton, lead independent director of the board of Abercrombie, stated: "Today’s announcement is the result of an extensive review by the board and detailed discussion with shareholders over several months, and the specific terms of Mike’s new contract reflect direct feedback from those discussions. The new agreement employs a more simplified, performance-based compensation structure that is designed to align incentives closely with the success of the company and the interests of shareholders."

Stapleton noted that under Jeffries’ leadership, Abercrombie & Fitch has grown from just 36 domestic stores and $50 million in sales in 1992 to having a global presence and over $4 billion in sales today.

“Mike and his team have developed a long-term plan that builds upon past successes, while targeting the specific challenges that the company faces today, Stapleton said. “We believe he is the right person to embark on this plan, which we believe will deliver substantial and sustainable value."

In a regulatory filing, the company that Jeffries will still have an annual base salary of $1.5 million, which will be reviewed every year. The new agreement has no retention or sign-on grant, and the formula for semi-annual equity grants contained in the 2008 agreement was eliminated. Similar to the 2008 contract, Jeffries can use the company aircraft for up to $200,000 of personal travel.

In other news, Abercrombie announced three new management positions: brand presidents for abercrombie kids, Hollister and its namesake brands. The company has hired Herbert Mines Associates to assist in its search of external candidates to fill the new roles/

Abercrombie also announced that Leslee Herro will retire from her position as executive VP of merchandise planning, inventory management and brand senses in the spring of 2014.

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