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Retail briefs

Stein Mart searching for new chief merchant

Gwen Manto last week resigned her position as vice chairman and chief merchandising officer at Stein Mart to pursue other interests. She also resigned her position on the retailer's board of directors.

While Stein Mart seeks a successor, the vice presidents in the merchandising, planning and marketing areas will report to company president and ceo Michael Fisher.

Manto joined the company as executive vp/chief merchandising officer in February 2000 and was named vice chairman this past February. She previously worked at Kids Foot Locker, where she was credited with the turnaround of that division of the Venator Group. Prior to that, she was senior vp and gmm of Kids "R" Us and Babies "R" Us. Her department store experience includes senior apparel merchandising responsibilities during 10 years with Rich's/Lazarus/Goldsmith's Department stores, and prior to that, 15 years with Macy's Atlanta.

ShopKo: Home, electronics looking good for holiday

ShopKo said it sees two primary trends driving holiday shopping this year: the demand for new electronics and consumers' focus on their living spaces.

"It wasn't long ago that the home was viewed as a retreat," said Scott Bresnehan, director of trend. "Today, home is a warm, inviting, comfortable place for gathering and entertaining friends and loved ones, often filled with multiple activities."

That trend is driving demand for holiday-related tabletop items as well as pillows and throws in brushed fleece, textured faux fur, chenille and velvet.

Home Depot launches holiday catalog

The Home Depot has released its first-ever holiday catalog, a 68-page "Holiday Inspirations" book that features more than 250 gift items, ranging from power tools and small appliances to ceiling fans and lawn equipment.

"We're going after the gift business in a big way," said John Costello, executive vp of merchandising and marketing. "Our call, click or visit strategy is designed to make it easier than ever for customers to get unique home-oriented gifts during the time-pressed holiday season."

Power tools are featured prominently in the catalog, which also has items only available on the web site or through the catalog, including a sampling of NASCAR-themed items featuring Home Depot driver Tony Stewart, and a selection of children's books and toys.

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