• Andrea Lillo

May names Williams pres., MDSI

Seeing the potential of proprietary brands as "substantial," May Department Stores has named Carol Williams as president of May Department Stores International, a new position for the company.

In her new post, Williams, who reports to Jay Levitt, president and ceo of May Merchandising/May Department Stores International (MMC/MDSI), will lead the creation of distinctive proprietary brands in all merchandise categories, as well as build on the company's existing labels. She will also guide the growth of MDSI into additional product offerings, the company said, and will oversee the functions of design, fabric and color.

"This is a critical step to advance May from a focus on private label to a focus on exciting, innovative proprietary brands that differentiate our stores and our merchandise from the competition," said Gene Kahn, May chairman and ceo. Right now, about 21 percent of merchandise is proprietary, he added. Kahn expects that to exceed 25 percent by 2005.

May recently introduced proprietary brands in its women's sportswear that were created by product development teams, Levitt added, and over the next 12 to 18 months the company will extend the product development team model.

Reporting to Williams will be Jeffrey Califano, senior vp of sportswear product development, and Linda Grayson, senior vp of the Design Center. May's overseas offices will continue to report to John Danahy, chairman of MMC/MDSI.

Williams comes to May from Jacobson Stores, where she most recently served as president and ceo. Before joining Jacobson Stores in 2001, she was at Saks Inc., first as executive vp of domestic branded goods and then as executive vp of Parisian.

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