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Retail Briefs

Kohl's Hires EVP, Product Development

Kohl's Department Stores has hired Peggy Eskenasi as executive vice president of product development, a newly created position.

Eskenasi will oversee private-brand development for Kohl's. Her appointment completes the previously announced five-member merchandising realignment, which includes three executive vice presidents-general merchandise managers and an executive vice president planning and allocation, all reporting to Kevin Mansell, Kohl's president.

“Her experience encompasses every facet of product development and her level of innovation and acute attention to quality will be instrumental in our continued focus on merchandise newness,” said Mansell.

Prior to joining Kohl's, Eskenasi was president of private label brand development for Saks Inc. Eskenasi previously served as vice president-general manager for Frederick Atkins.

Sears Ups Store Count

Sears will acquire six off-mall locations from Wal-Mart, while also gaining 50 locations from Kmart.

The deal with Kmart has Sears paying the company $575.9 million, including $172 million in net cash proceeds to be received this quarter.

With this transaction, Sears is doubling its number of stores in San Diego, adding five stores to the New Jersey market and increasing the number of stores in Florida, the Northeast and Puerto Rico.

“The completion of this transaction moves Sears another step closer to its strategic goal of growing our store base and the Sears brand off-mall,” said Alan Lacy, Sears chairman and CEO. “We look forward to an increased presence in these key markets and serving new and existing customers.”

Kmart will continue to operate the stores sold to Sears until March or April 2005, with the exception of the West Palm Beach, Fla., store which will transfer this fall. Sears has agreed to consider offering employment to any Kmart employee who desires a position at the converted stores.

Axelrod Joins Maidenform Board

Norman Axelrod, chairman and CEO of Linens 'N Things, has been elected to the Maidenform, Inc. Board of Directors. Axelrod also serves on several other boards including Reebok and Jaclyn, Inc.

Tom Ward, Maidenform chairman and CEO, is a longtime veteran of the home textiles industry, having served a number of years as president and chief operating officer of WestPoint Stevens.

Family Dollar Wraps FY

With its soft-lines sales significantly off plan and its gross profit margin declining, Family Dollar reported a 9.9 percent decline in net income to $47.7 million for the fourth quarter ended Aug. 29.

Sales for the quarter were $1.3 billion, up 9.6 percent. Comps were roughly flat — 0.7 percent — with a 7.2 percent slide in soft lines overwhelming the 2.9 percent jump in hardlines. Average transaction was also roughly flat for the quarter, up 0.5 percent to $8.70.

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