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Retail briefs

Pellenberg says goodbye to Brylane

Charlie Pellenberg, senior vice president of Brylane Home Lifestyle Group and a founder of the home fashions catalog, has left the company.

Pellenberg, a long-time veteran of the home fashions industry, had earlier founded the Domestications home fashions catalog before leaving that direct-mail merchant to found the Brylane Home value-priced catalog in 1998.

While at Brylane Home, Pellenberg created a "white sale" philosophy of merchandising that generated rapid, strong growth for the direct-mail merchant as it steadily built up market share in a replay of his earlier accomplishment at Domestications.

A Brylane spokesman said the company has eliminated the position.

Anita Iodice — vice president of home, the Wishes gift catalog and the Kitchen catalog — now reports to Steve Goldberg, president of Brylane Home Lifestyle Group.

LNT adds college-savings incentive to purchases

Linens 'n Things and Mothers Work, Inc., a maternity apparel retailer, have added a new feature to the Futuretrust program — a 5 percent college-savings rebate every time Futuretrust members shop at Linens 'n Things.

Futuretrust is a MasterCard-linked college-savings program that features rebates automatically contributed to a tax-advantaged 529 college-savings plan. Members earn 1 percent every time they make a purchase with the Futuretrust MasterCard.

For Linens 'n Things purchases, members earn an additional 4 percent. Members also earn additional college savings when they use the Futuretrust MasterCard at any merchants in the Futuretrust Preferred Merchant Network, consisting of major retail chains, catalogs and online merchants.

NRF: Retailers happier about pricing

With sales and traffic rebounding, retailers are becoming less dependent on markdowns to move merchandise, according the National Retail Federation's Executive Opinion Survey.

For the month of April, the survey found above-normal readings in all key aspects of the study, which measures retail executives' evaluations of sales, traffic, average transaction, employment, intentions and six-month outlook.

The most significant jump took place in pricing power, which has been running below average since the survey began in fall 2002. The Pricing Index raised just more than 20 points to 58.8 (on a scale of 0.0 to 100.0). The overall industry rating for April was 58.2, which NRF considers strong.

"Now that retailers have more control over pricing, they are in the driver's seat," said Tracy Mullin, NRF president and CEO. "Consumers will still be able to find great deals, but retailers will be able to strategically mark down merchandise instead of offering sweeping discounts to reduce inventories."

Blair to drop catalog

Blair Corporation will discontinue its four-year-old Crossing Pointe catalog in early 2005 to focus on its Blair catalog/Internet operation, which sells apparel and home furnishings. The company has not decided whether it will discontinue Crossing Pointe's Web business as well.

"Historically, the core Blair brand has been the cornerstone of our business and has generated the growth and profitability to position us for the future," said John Zawacki, president and CEO.

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