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Retail briefs

Macy's Home Store names buyers

As part of a major reorganization, Macy's Home Store has named three additional vice presidents, building on the nine already announced. Dave Vernon, senior vice president of textiles, announced the changes.

Michelle Goldberg has been named buyer of contemporary collections. She is currently buyer of Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein collections and table linens for Macy's East. Eric Sanchez has been appointed buyer of pillows/pads. He is currently buyer, utility, at Macy's West. Howard Dietch has been named buyer of down/blankets/comforters. He currently oversees utility/table linens.

Sears rolls out the towels and rips up the beds

With reaction to its recently expanded towel assortment running strong, Sears plans to roll up its sleeves and overhaul top-of-bed presentations over the next two quarters.

Roughly 70 percent of the company's current top-of-bed assortment will get the boot in the process, Sears Chairman and CEO Alan Lacy said during the company's first quarter conference call. Lacy provided no details, other than to say the assortment was being upgraded and that Sears will continue to supplement its proprietary offerings with the rollout of WestPoint Stevens' Martex and Utica labels in home.

The recently completed reset of the towel department has driven a significant increase in that category's comparable sales, Lacy added.

Lacy also acknowledged the company is considering the prospect of freestanding Lands' End specialty stores, but insisted such a project would amount to "a relatively small thing in the scheme of things."

Spiegel slims down

The Spiegel Group began laying off the first of 255 employees at its Spiegel Catalog division and corporate support staff last week, a process that will be completed within two months.

Negotiations with a potential buyer for the Spiegel Catalog are ongoing, the company said. However, Spiegel noted in a release that even if no deal is made, the headcount reduction would minimize operating losses.

Bon-Ton president and COO quits

Frank Tworecke, the Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. president and chief operating officer, has resigned, effective May 7.

Tworecke has been named group president, sportswear for Warnaco and will have responsibility for Warnaco's Calvin Klein Jeans, Calvin Klein Underwear and Chaps units.

Until a successor has been named, Bud Bergren, vice chairman and formerly president and CEO of The Elder-Beerman Stores Corp., will assume Tworecke's responsibilities.

Bombay expects steeper loss

The Bombay Company updated its first quarter earnings guidance last week, saying that it may post a greater loss than it had originally expected.

The company now expects a loss in the range of 13 cents to 16 cents per share. Previously, it had anticipated a loss at the high end of the range of 8 cents to 11 cents per share.

"As a result of the softness in sales, gross margins have been adversely impacted by costs associated with carrying higher inventory levels from last fall. Negative same-store sales, and the reduction of shipments to stores have created deleveraging effects in merchandise handling and freight costs, buying and occupancy costs and corporate and four-wall selling, general and administrative expenses," said James Carreker, chairman and CEO.

In a sign that headquarters reductions may be coming, he added that Bombay will recognize "unplanned senior officer severance expense" during the first quarter. Bombay is now forecasting second quarter comps to be negative in the high single-digit level.

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