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Retail briefs

Wal-Mart's Harris to retire, Watts adds some home

Wal-Mart Stores has announced that Don Harris, evp, general merchandise, for the Wal-Mart Stores division, is retiring after 23 years with the company. He will stay on until April 30, 2004, to help in the transition of his responsibilities. As a result, Claire Watts, svp, product development, has been promoted to evp, merchandising. Along with her product development duties, she will assume the responsibility for the apparel and home furnishing merchandise programs. She will become a member of the executive committee, and now reports to Mike Duke, president and ceo, Wal-Mart Stores, U.S. division.

Hanover Direct control moves to hedge fund

Hanover Direct completed the recapitalization of its company with hedge fund Chelsey Direct, which now controls the company. Hanover agreed to exchange 564,819 shares of a newly issued Series C preferred stock and 81,857,833 shares of newly issued common stock for the 1,622,111 shares of Series B preferred stock previously held by Chelsey Direct.

Lowe's expanding DC network

Dovetailing with Lowe's aggressive new store opening schedule, the home center retailer is building a new regional distribution center in Plainfield, CT, on a 215-acre site on Tarbox Road.

The 1.3 million-square-foot facility will be Lowe's 11th regional DC and will service up to 125 Lowe's units in the Northeast. Construction has already begun on the $80 million project, which is slated to begin receiving shipments in February 2005 and begin shipping the following month.

Lowe's is opening 130 new stores during the fiscal 2003 year. The 925-unit company plans to open 140 stores in 2004 and 150 in 2005.

Home Depot plugs into Weather Channel

Home Depot will launch a series of spots called "The Home Depot Project of the Month" on The Weather Channel that spotlight weather-related home improvement projects. The cable network's home expert, Danny Lipford, will host the program. Five segment vignettes will air one per hour between 7 a.m. and noon Eastern Time on the second Saturday of each month through October 2004.

Gottschalks converting to transaction data system

Gottschalks has signed an agreement with Global eXchange Services to covert the retailer's 1,200 suppliers to the B-to-B's network for end-to-end solutions. The new system will give Gottschalks and suppliers real-time transmission and notification of receipt. The system also will track delayed or incorrect shipments. The project is designed to lower costs and reduce manual auditing of shipments, according to Jeff Krat, senior director of IT, Gottschalks.

Bluefly store

Just for the holidays, Bluefly.com opened a temporary outlet shop at 43 West 24th Street, NYC, though the company did say that it will evaluate the store at the end of the month and decide whether or not to continue operations.

Right now the shop sells discounted designer duds only, but once the shop is up and running home merchandise will join the mix, the company said.

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