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Z Gallerie signs multi-year agreement with Alliance Data

BY Staff Writer

Dallas — Alliance Data Systems, a leading provider of loyalty and marketing solutions derived from transaction-rich data, announced its retail services business, which manages more than 120 private label and co-brand credit programs, has signed a multi-year renewal agreement to continue providing private label credit card services for home decor and lifestyle retailer Z Gallerie.

The specialty retailer operates 58 stores located in 19 states, featuring an eclectic mix of upscale home furnishings and accessories.

"We consider the Z Gallerie Credit Card a key component to driving incremental sales, increasing frequency of purchases and strengthening the relationship we have with our customers," said Mike Zeiden, founder and CFO, Z Gallerie, Los Angeles. "We’re confident Alliance Data’s expertise in building strong credit and customer loyalty programs, along with its innovative marketing tools, will help us continue to deliver on our brand value proposition. In our renewed partnership with Alliance Data we look forward to offering our cardholders a superior credit product and outstanding service."

Alliance Data will continue to deliver a marketing-driven private label credit card program that recognizes and rewards Z Gallerie cardholders with meaningful rewards for purchases made with the Z Gallerie Credit Card. In addition to points earned on purchases, the credit card program provides cardholders with special financing offers and payment options, as well as other exclusive benefits, such as cardholder discounts, private sales and product previews. Alliance Data will support Z Gallerie with ongoing integrated marketing programs designed to drive brand loyalty and repeat purchases.

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Restoration Hardware co-CEO says farewell

BY CSA STAFF

Restoration Hardware co-CEO Carlos Alberini has resigned his post, effective Jan. 31, 2014. He plans to continue serving as a member of the company’s board of directors and will remain a significant shareholder.

Alberini is heading to Los Angeles, where he will take the helm as chairman of the board and CEO of Lucky Brand, effective upon closing of the pending acquisition by Leonard Green & Partners.

“On behalf of myself, the board and the entire RH team, I want to express our deepest thanks to Carlos for the numerous contributions he has made as Co-CEO,” said Gary Friedman, chairman and co-CEO. “His leadership has been invaluable, and we are delighted with his continuing service as a member of our board of directors.”

“I have been presented with an opportunity to fulfill my lifelong dream to run and build a company. Leaving RH has been one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made in my career. Gary and I have built an extraordinary relationship, which I treasure and will miss,” said Alberini. “These past few years with Gary and the RH team have been extremely rewarding and fulfilling and I am so proud of our accomplishments. I am honored and thrilled that I will continue to have the opportunity to serve on the board, and plan to remain a significant shareholder in what I believe will be recognized as one of the greatest retail stories of all time.”

The company is already developing a transition plan and will initiate a search for Alberini’s replacement soon.

News of Alberini’s departure comes as Restoration Hardware delivered another quarter of record financial results. Based on its performance during the third quarter ended Nov. 2, the company is increasing its fiscal year 2013 guidance.

Net revenues for the quarter increased 39% to $395.8 million from $284.2 million for the third quarter last year. This is on top of a 22% increase in net revenues for the third quarter of fiscal 2012. Comparable-store sales increased 29% for the quarter, on top of an increase of 29% in comparable-store sales for the third quarter last year. Direct revenues increased 47% in the quarter, on top of the 24% increase in direct revenues for the third quarter last year.

“Our exclusive products, dominant assortments, taste and style continue to resonate with consumers across all channels,” said Friedman. “We believe that the significant growth in our direct and total business provides the initial data points demonstrating that the most recent evolution of our Source Book strategy was a highly profitable decision. The strong top-line growth coupled with advertising savings and operating leverage drove a 390 basis point increase in adjusted operating margins and 389% growth in adjusted net income during the quarter while we continued to invest in our infrastructure and new businesses to support our future growth.”

As of Nov. 2, the company operated a total of 70 retail stores, consisting of 62 galleries, 5 full-line design galleries and 3 baby and child galleries, as well as 17 outlet stores throughout the United States and Canada.

“The transformation of our real estate continues to be our highest priority and represents a tremendous opportunity to unlock the value of our dominant assortment,” added Alberini. “Our five full-line design galleries continue to exceed our expectations. We remain on track with our plan to open full-line design galleries in Greenwich, Los Angeles and Atlanta in 2014 and anticipate opening 10 or more locations per year beginning in 2015.”

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Wolverine World Wide adds Unilever exec to board

BY CSA STAFF

Wolverine Worldwide has appointed Gina R. Boswell to the company’s board of directors.

Boswell is EVP, personal care, for global food, personal care and household products company Unilever. She has held numerous senior leadership positions with other leading global companies, including Avon Products, Ford Motor Company and Estée Lauder Companies.

Boswell was included in the 2012 "Women to Watch" by AdAge magazine and was named an "Achiever of the Year" in 2011 by Cosmetic Executive Women. She also serves on the board of directors of ManpowerGroup.

"Gina Boswell is a well-rounded executive with a strong global perspective on the consumer marketplace, and I and my fellow directors are exceptionally pleased to have her join the board," stated Blake W. Krueger, the company’s chairman and CEO. "She has an impressive track record of building global brands, executing business strategy and growing market share in international markets — all significant assets to our portfolio of 16 global lifestyle brands."

"Wolverine Worldwide is one of the very best footwear and lifestyle companies in the world," said Boswell. "Its portfolio contains some of today’s most sought-after brands, and I could not be more pleased to join a company that has such an intent focus on design and innovation, global brand building and consumer connections."

Boswell is a graduate of Boston University and received a master’s degree in public and private management from Yale University.

Unilever’s products are sold in more than 190 countries and include global brands such as Dove, Lipton and Hellman’s.

Wolverine World Wide is a leading marketer of branded casual, active lifestyle, work, outdoor sport, athletic, children’s and uniform footwear and apparel. The company’s portfolio of brands includes Merrell, Sperry Top-Sider, Hush Puppies, Saucony, Wolverine, Keds, Stride Rite, Sebago, Cushe, Chaco, Bates, Hytest and Soft Style. The company is alsovthe global footwear licensee of the Cat, Harley-Davidson and Patagonia brands. Its products are carried by leading retailers in the U.S. and globally in approximately 200 countries and territories.

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