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Furniture retailer taps former Barnes & Noble head as CEO

BY Marianne Wilson

Art Van Furniture has appointed a veteran retailer as its next chief executive.

The Midwest furniture and mattress retailer said that Ronald Boire will join the company as its new president and CEO, effective April 30, 2018. He will succeed Kim Yost, who recently announced his retirement after nine years with the chain.

Boire comes to Art Van having previously served in senior executive positions, including president and CEO roles, at a wide variety of retail and consumer electronic companies, including Barnes & Noble (where he served as CEO from September 2015 to August 2016), Sony Electronics, Best Buy, Toys “R” Us, Brookstone, and Sears Canada.

Prior to joining Art Van, he was a principal at The Upland Group, an advisory firm specializing in the development, leadership, and execution of transformational strategies for retail and consumer product companies.

“We thank Kim [Yost] for the leadership and guidance he has provided to the company through this year of transition, and wish him well in his retirement,” said Jeff Swenson, managing director of Thomas H. Lee Partners, which acquired Art Van Furniture in 2017 for an estimated $550 million. “Looking ahead, we are thrilled with Ron’s decision to join Art Van. His deep expertise in retail management and extensive experience leading transformational and omnichannel strategies focused on delivering best-in-class customer experiences – both online and in stores – will be incredibly valuable as we build on a long and storied history of growth for the Art Van, Levin, and Wolf brands.”

Art Van Furniture operates 185 stores in nine under a variety of banners, including Art Van Furniture, Art Van PureSleep, Art Van Flooring, Scott Shuptrine Interiors, Levin Furniture, Wolf Furniture and Gardiner Wolf Furniture.

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Lord & Taylor on the hunt for a new leader

BY Marianne Wilson

Thirty-years plus Lord & Taylor veteran is stepping down.

Liz Rodbell, president of Lord & Taylor, which is owned by Hudson’s Bay Company, and of the industry’s most admired executives, is leaving the company at the end of April. A search is underway for her successor.

Rodbell joined Lord & Taylor in 1985, as a dress buyer. She went on to hold positions of increasing responsibility.

From 2014 to June 2017, Rodbell served as president of both Lord & Taylor and Hudson’s Bay, after serving as executive VP and chief merchant of both businesses.

Last June, as part of a HBC management organization, she lost her title at Hudson’s Bay and shifted her focus to just running Lord & Taylor.

“Liz is a strong leader at HBC who has made a mark on Hudson’s Bay over the last five years,” Jerry Storch, the then CEO of HBC, said in a statement at the time. “Liz’s vision for the future of retail has helped steer the business, and she truly understands our customer. With more than 30 years at Lord & Taylor, Liz is uniquely positioned to continue to lead the banner through its evolution and drive its digital strategy.”

Rodbell is credited with helping to grow Lord & Taylor’s e-commerce business, transforming the store into an multi-channel experience, and updating its image.

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Executive departure at women’s specialty retailer

BY Marianne Wilson

Anthropologie is getting a new leader. Or make that leaders.

Urban Outfitters, Inc. announced that David McCreight, CEO Anthropologie Group and president, Urban Outfitters, will leave the company on April 27, 2018. Going forward, Hillary Super, Anthropologie group president, apparel and accessories, will lead the brand in partnership with Andrew Carnie, Anthropologie group president, home, garden and international.

Same-store sales for Anthropologie rose 5% in the company’s fourth quarter.

“We thank David for his six years of service to the company during which time the Anthropologie group opened 60 stores and grew revenue by over 35%,” said Richard A. Hayne, CEO, Urban Outfitters. “Both Hillary and Andrew are strong leaders and excellent merchants with a solid understanding of the Anthropologie customer. Anthropologie Group’s current business is particularly robust, and we are excited about both the near and longer-term opportunities for growth under their leadership.”

Urban Outfitters operates 247 namesake stores in the United States, Canada, and Europe; 226 Anthropologie Group stores in the United States, Canada and Europe; 132 Free People stores in the United States and Canada, 10 restaurants, and assorted e-commerce sites of March 31, 2018.

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