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Retail Briefs

Ross Stores Promotes Panattoni

Off-price retailer Ross Stores has promoted Lisa Panattoni, executive vp, merchandising for the home businesses at Ross Dress for Less, the main chain with 733 stores, giving her expanded responsibility for all home-related categories for both Ross and the 26-store, lower-priced chain dd’s Discounts. Panattoni will report to Michael Balmuth, vice chairman, president and ceo.

BCF Drops Area for Accent Rugs

Burlington Coat Factory has decided to call it quits with its area rug offering, shifting its floor covering focus instead to its more popular accent-size offerings. Natalie Figueroa, rug and towel buyer, told HTT she has seen better price-point goods — in the range of $19.99 to $24.99 for 2-foot-by-4-foot rugs — doing well. But their larger siblings, all rugs measuring 4-by-6 and higher, aren’t making the grade and haven’t been for a while. The 365-unit retailer expects all of its area rug inventory to be out of the stores in about eight months.

Gottschalks Retains UBS for Strategy

Regional department store operator Gottschalks has retained UBS Investment Bank to assist its special strategic committee in exploring alternatives, and the company said it will also continue to use the financial advisory services of Financo. The 66-store chain previously said it will identify and evaluate goals such as “a revised business plan, operating partnerships, joint ventures, strategic alliances, share repurchases, a recapitalization, and the sale or merger of the company.”

Retail Ventures Eyes Value City Sale

Retail Ventures Inc. (RVI) has retained Financo and CIBC World Markets to explore strategic alternatives for its 113-store Value City discount store chain, including a possible sale. HTT reported that 2005 home textiles revenues for Filene’s Basement and Value City together totaled $144.0 million (Filene’s Basement comprises 31 better-branded off-price stores). RVI ceo Heywood Wilansky emphasized, “The 'strategic alternatives’ do not include RVI’s other retail divisions DSW Inc. or Filene’s Basement.”

Sears-Kmart Boosting E-commerce

Sears Holdings Corp. has plans to create a new E-commerce Development Center at its flagship Chicago State Street store in the first half of 2007. The division, which expects to employ up to 100 IT staffers, is recruiting prospects for a number of positions, said Karen Austin, executive vp and chief information officer. “We chose downtown because of its proximity to a strong pool of e-commerce talent,” said Paul Miller, senior vp, direct commerce, Sears Holdings, which controls both Kmart and Sears.

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