OPERATIONS

Suit alleges Tiffany discrimination

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – A group director for two Tiffany & Co. stores in Houston has filed a lawsuit alleging the retailer discriminates against African-Americans in hiring and promotions for management and executive-level jobs. A complaint filed by Michael McClure in federal court in New York on May 29 says that McClure is the only African-American holding one of 200 U.S. management-level positions at Tiffany, and that there are no African-American executives in the company.

McClure’s suit also claims that he unfairly received an unfair performance review and warning, and that he received an unsigned letter stating Anthony Ledru, Tiffany senior VP North America, had told other Tiffany employees he was surprised to see a black man representing the Tiffany brand. Media reports indicate Tiffany is denying all of McClure’s allegations.

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Former Macy’s CEO Finkelstein dies

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Edward H. Finkelstein, former chairman and CEO of the company now known as Macy’s Inc., died of natural causes at his home in Thousand Oaks, California, on May 31. He was 89.

Finkelstein led Macy’s in the 1970s and 1980s and launched concepts including the Aeropostale apparel chain, which was later sold off, as well as several private brands. Finkelstein left the company in 1992 after 44 years, following a bankruptcy filing.

"Ed Finkelstein was an innovator who shall be remembered for his many important contributions in building the Macy’s brand over the decades,” said Terry Lundgren, Chairman and CEO of Macy’s Inc., in a statement. “His career was remarkable. The Macy’s Inc. team extends our heartfelt sympathies to the Finkelstein family.”

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Thirty-One Gifts deploys TXT Maple Lake’s integrated retail planning software

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Thirty-One Gifts, one of the nation’s largest direct-selling companies, announced the successful go-live of TXT Maple Lake’s integrated retail planning solution. The software is helping Thirty-One Gifts manage the whole spectrum of in-season planning processes, including inventory management and open-to-buy.

Thirty-One Gifts offers an array of lifestyle products, most of which can be personalized.

“Because of our business model, which relies strongly on sales consultants’ activity and is very much driven by end-of-month sales, managing inventory and SKUs is absolutely critical to us, particularly as we transition seasons,” said Mike Mausteller, director of planning and merchandise control at Thirty-One Gifts, Columbus, Ohio. “We needed to better align our inventory strategies with demand to avoid backorders and additional air freight charges. The TXT Integrated Retail Planning solution is helping us achieve ideal inventory management and optimized product availability.”

Prior to TXT’s implementation, Thirty-One Gifts relied on spreadsheets with planning executed at month and style level. Now with support from the TXT software, users plan at a finer style/color/size level and with a weekly horizon. The solution also provides embedded performance management and dashboards, which ensure greater transparency across the business, and ultimately support more accurate fact-based decisions.

“The full planning team is using TXT and they really like the system,” added Mausteller. “The solution has helped standardize the process, with everyone working and thinking in a coordinated fashion. We chose TXT for their ability to support retail planning from end-to-end, as well as for the flexibility of the solution, which is able to adapt to our growing business. Adoption among users has proven extremely smooth.”

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