REAL ESTATE

Westwood names DDR veteran to head finance

BY Al Urbanski

Westwood Financial hired away DDR’s finance chief, hailing the move as central to its evolution from a “real estate sponsor into a sophisticated real estate institution,” according to Co-CEO Randy Banchik.

New Executive VP Matt Lougee will facilitate financing for Westwood’s retail investments, oversee capital formation and investor relations, and negotiate joint ventures. Lougee spent the entirety of his career to date at DDR, departing the company as senior VP of finance.

“This new appointment will advance our long-term objective to grow our platform, refine our corporate strategy, and strengthen our capital relationships,” said co-CEO Joe Dykstra.

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C-SUITE

Key exec departs Francesca’s Holdings

BY Marianne Wilson

Francesca's Holdings Corp. is on the hunt for a new chief merchant.

The apparel retailer announced that Laurie Hummel, executive VP and chief merchandising officer, has left the company. It did not provide a reason for her departure.

Hummel joined Francesca's in November 2015. Previously, she served two years as senior VP and divisional merchandise manager at Kohl’s. Before that, she was with State Stores.

"We have a lot of talent in our merchandising team and are confident in their ability to execute our strategy as we search for a new chief merchant," said Steve Lawrence, president and CEO, in a statement. "During this period, the team will report directly to me. We wish Laurie well in her future endeavors.”

In the same statement, Francesca's said that its same-store sales for the second quarter decreased 3% and that preliminary diluted earnings per share for the second quarter is expected to be $0.20.

“We are pleased to have exceeded our second quarter EPS guidance, driven by better than expected merchandise margin and lower than expected SG&A," Lawrence. "That said, we note that back-to-school has been off to a very challenging start and our comparable sales have further decelerated from July."

Francesca’s operates approximately 679 stores in 48 states and the District of Columbia.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Outdoor apparel and gear brand runs first TV ad

BY Marianne Wilson

Patagonia is running the first-ever television spot in its history, but the message has nothing to do with the outdoor apparel brand's merchandise.

In the ad, company founder Yvon Chouinard speaks about the importance of protected public lands, such as the Bears Ears national monument in Utah, and asks viewers to contact Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, and remind him of his past comment in which he said, “Our greatest treasures are public lands.” To see the spot, click here.

On Aug. 24, Zinke will make an announcement about 21 national monuments that are “under review.”

In a note to media, Corley Kenna, director, global communications and public relations at Patagonia, said that in a nearly $700,000 media buy, Patagonia purchased statewide television and radio time in Montana, home state of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. The company also purchased television and radio in Utah, where two of the monuments up for review are located, and radio time in Nevada where two other national monuments are also for review. The ad is also being promoted on social and digital media.

“The national monuments under review are a critical part of our national heritage and these lands belong not just to us, but to future generations," stated Rose Marcario, president and CEO of Patagonia, which has a long history of social and environmental activism. "We stand with the millions of Americans who spoke out in support of keeping protections in place for public lands. We hope Secretary Zinke will remember his roots and his words and protect these ‘national treasures.’ This is not about politics or partisanship – it’s about standing up for places that belong to future generations."

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