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Retail Briefs

Federated to Axe Six Lord & Taylors

Federated Department Stores will close five Lord & Taylor stores and convert another to a Macy's; 49 Lord & Taylor stores will keep operating. Federated is pursuing divestiture of L&T; a transaction is expected in 2006. A Strawbridge's store in Philadelphia will close; a Robinsons-May unit in Scottsdale, Ariz. will go. This brings the total duplicate stores the company intends to divest in its May Co. integration to 79.

Zucker Shifts Execs at Hudson's Bay

Hudson's Bay Co. altered senior leadership: Jerry Zucker is now governor, ceo; Michael Rousseau, president (was evp, cfo); Marc Chouinard, coo; Thomas Haig, executive vp. Peter Kenyon, evp, will depart. George Heller, retiring as ceo, president, named senior director of the board; new directors: Zucker, Peter Bourgeois, Paul Campoli, Robert Johnston, Michael Lowry, Brice Sweatt, Julian Tiedemann. Other directors: Rousseau and James Ingram.

Kohl's Selling Credit Card Business

Kohl's will sell its private label credit card accounts and balances to JPMorgan Chase for cash, about $1.5 billion, plus fees for Kohl's to run marketing and customer service. Kohl's launched a $2 billion share repurchase, and raised 2006 earnings guidance from $2.72 - $2.85 per diluted share to $2.74 to $2.87 pds.

Pier 1 Tests New Items, More Catalogs

Pier 1 Imports is looking to improve its marketing and merchandising, said Charles Turner, cfo. The 1,200-store, $1.8 billion retailer is counting on pared-down assortments, a cleaner look but more sophisticated color palettes. Pier 1 will build on its year-old catalog program. Turner said the company will also introduce a co-branded credit card in 2006.

TJX: Cuts in Staff, Exec Pay Save $18M

The TJX Cos. has cut about 250 positions at its offices in the U.S., Canada and U.K.; 12 senior TJX senior executives will take 10% salary cuts. Result: a cost reduction of $18 million on an annualized basis.

Williams-Sonoma to Test New Format

This fall, Williams-Sonoma debut a store format, Pottery Barn Bed & Bath. It expects to “replicate at retail the success we have had in our direct business with our Pottery Barn Bed & Bath catalog and e-commerce,“ said Patrick Connolly, evp, cmo. W-S will test an outdoor catalog in April. The Williams-Sonoma Home unit will grow upholstery, dining and bedroom assortments, and “refocus on bed and bath textiles, which were a great entry point to the brand.”

Thomas RussellThomas Russell | Associate Editor, FurnitureToday
trussell@furnituretoday.com

I'm Tom Russell and have worked at Furniture/Today since August 2003. Since then, I have covered the international side of the business from a logistics and sourcing standpoint. Since then, I also have visited several furniture trade shows and manufacturing plants in Asia, which has helped me gain perspective about the industry in that part of the world. As I continue covering the import side of the business, I look forward to building on that knowledge base through conversations with industry officials and future overseas plant tours. From time to time, I will file news and other industry perspectives online and, as always, welcome your response to these Web postings.