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LNT makes Schlaepfer first chief merch. officer

Intensifying its efforts to set itself apart in a rapidly evolving retail environment, big-box pioneer Linens 'N Things has hired home furnishings veteran Audrey Schlaepfer as executive vp and its first chief merchandising officer.

In her newly created post, Schlaepfer will be responsible for the strategic direction of the company's entire merchandising division, product development, branding initiatives, new business development and proprietary products.

The new position marks a major expansion of the merchandising responsibilities held by former gmm Steven Silverstein before his recent promotion as president of the home furnishings chain.

Schlaepfer joins Linens 'N Things with more than 24 years of retail experience, most recently at Warner Bros.' retail operation, where she had been executive vp , merchandising. In that position, she was responsible for all strategic initiatives, product development, sourcing, design, buying, planning and allocation.

She joined Warner Bros. in 1994 as vp, home, accessories and gallery, and was promoted in 1995 to senior vp, hard goods, and worked in that post until 1999, when she took over the merchandising job.

Schlaepfer began her retail career in 1977 at Macy's, where she held several positions, including vp, merchandising in home furnishings.

The superstore retailer said, in a statement: "Her prior experience in both home furnishings and in a high-growth specialty retailer is expected to enhance the existing management team at Linens 'N Things and contribute immensely to the organization's future success."

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