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New Mervyns ceo outlines plan

Hayward, Calif. – Mervyns plans to shuffle its real estate and launch into e-commerce as new ceo John Goodman – who joined the company last month from Levi Strauss & Co. – looks to generate cash and revivify sales.

Mervyns will open five stores in core markets next year, for a total of 17 stores opened since the retail chain was acquired by private equity firm Cerberus Capital three years ago. The company currently operates 177 stores in seven states, concentrating on California and the southwest.

The company will also sell off from five to 10 under-performing units in locations with high real estate values. The sale is expected to fetch $25 million to $50 million, which will used for operations and new initiatives.

In the fourth quarter of this year, Mervyns will begin selling goods online, hoping to create a $50 million business.

Goodman who was formerly president of the Dockers brand, wants to provide products and services targeting niche markets, particularly Hispanic customers. The retailer will emphasize its heritage as a “neighborhood department store” through strategic hires and investments in store-level staff training, as well as targeted sourcing and buying.

“We are leveraging our base of strong merchandising talent and bolstering it with new team members both from within the department store channel, as well as other categories and specialty brands, to bring a new look to Mervyns,” said Goodman. “We have the plan and are in a strong financial position, and we have adequate liquidity to invest into this downturn to recapture the loyalty of value-conscious shoppers.”

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