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Study: Easter-related retail shipments rise 22%

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Retailers are preparing for a strong Easter shopping season, with shipments of “Easter” related items up more than 22% from 2013. According to analysis of shipments from December to February (the time when retailers stock their shelves for Easter) from global trade data provider Panjiva shows that U.S. retailers recorded a total of 4,610 Easter-related shipments during this period in 2013-2014, compared to 3,772 in 2012-13.

In addition, shipments including the terms “Easter” and “eggs” climbed 46% to 724 from 497, while shipments including the terms “Easter” and “bunny” grew 21% to 635 from 521. Shipments only including the term “bunny” increased a more modest 2%, to 1,735 from 1,703.

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Banana Republic names new creative director

BY Dan Berthiaume

San Francisco – Banana Republic has named fashion designer Marissa Webb as creative director and executive VP of design, effective April 28. She will be responsible for guiding the brand’s overall creative direction, as well as leading global product design for Banana Republic women’s, men’s, and accessories.

Prior to branching out on her own during 2011, Webb spent time at Polo, Club Monaco and more than a decade at J. Crew Group Inc., where she served in various design roles, including head of womenswear and accessories design. Webb will retain her role as president and creative director at Marissa Webb (M Webb LLC), in addition to her newly appointed role at Banana Republic. Webb’s first collection for Banana Republic is expected in the summer of 2015. Webb will report to global president of Banana Republic Jack Calhoun.

Banana Republic parent company Gap Inc. also intends to join M Webb LLC’s minority investors by investing in the Marissa Webb label. Calhoun will work with Webb as a strategic partner in the growth and development of her business.

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Best Buy’s U.S. retail chief retires; HR head to assume responsibilities

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Best Buy Inc.’s president of U.S. retail stores, Shawn Score, 48, has retired, effective immediately, after spending 29 years with the company. His responsibilities will be assumed by Best Buy’s chief human resources officer, Shari Ballard.

Ballard joined Best Buy in 1993, and has served in a variety of executive positions, moving into the HR position in 2013. Ballard will continue to head up human resources in addition to taking on the new duties.

Prior to leading the U.S. retail unit of Best Buy, Score served as president of Best Buy Mobile.

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