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Ryman to help Sears revamp

Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, June 7, 2004

Sears' new home fashions merchant sees the retailer's home textiles business as "offering tremendous opportunities. But it's going to take time."

The merchant in question, Steve Ryman, last week joined Sears Roebuck & Co. as vice president, general merchandising manager for home fashions. He succeeds Barbara Pizzella, who left the company in May. A 20-year home furnishings executive, he was most recently senior vice president at JR United.

Ryman will be charged with fleshing out the evolution of Sears' home fashions program, which has been getting overhauled since last year. Sears is looking to upgrade its private brands, styling and pricing. Also on the agenda: remerchandising some 70 percent of the assortment in top-of-bed.

"The challenge first is to learn all about Sears, its customers, the team and relate them to my knowledge of the industry and merchandising and marketing skills. And then to build the bridge we're all going to walk on," Ryman said.

Ryman was previously with Kmart, where he was senior vice president of global operations, prior to leaving the company in fall 2002. Before taking on the global position, he served as vice president of home and Martha Stewart Everyday, then later as senior vice president, general merchandising manager of home, seasonal and Martha Stewart Everyday. Earlier, he held positions at Dayton-Hudson Department Stores and ShopKo.

"There are many positives" in Sears' home department, he said. "Sears is an American icon with opportunities across the board, from opening price points to good/better/ best in bed, bath, windows and rugs."

Ryman reports to Roger Detter, senior vice president and general merchandising manager for home fashions, tools, paint, lawn and garden, recreation and automotive.

"Steve is a proven leader in developing customer-driven strategies to generate sales and brand share in the home business," Detter said. "His ability to launch and grow national brands to significantly increase sales will be critical as we build and differentiate our home fashions department."

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