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Retail Briefs

TJX Promotes Meyrowitz to CEO

Off-price retailer The TJX Companies will bestow the additional duties and title of ceo to president Carol Meyrowitz, effective on the first day of the company's next fiscal year, Jan. 28, 2007. With the firm since 1983 and president since October 2005, her record includes a 2001-2005 stint as president of the Marmaxx Group, leading division of the $16 billion merchandising conglomerate. Chairman Ben Cammarata said, “Carol has been responsible for some of our most successful initiatives.”

Donald Campbell, chief administrative and business development officer, was named vice chairman; Jeffrey Naylor, senior executive vp and cfo, adds the cao position.

Fred's Thrives on $18 Sweet Spot

To Fred's Inc., big-box retailer chains like Wal-Mart and Target “really are our friends,” ceo Michael Hayes said at the recent Morgan Keegan Equity Conference. The $1.8 billion retailer, with 673 stores in 15 Southeastern states, is part of what Hayes called an “alternative shopping industry” at the intersection of convenience and value. Referring to shopper patterns, he pointed to average tickets at Wal-Mart ($60 to $100), Walgreens ($55), Family Dollar ($9) and Dollar General ($9). The Fred's average ticket: $18.

Home Textiles Today pegs the 2005 volume of home textiles at $70 million. The chain breaks out apparel and linens as 14% of total, with another 22% accounted for by “household goods.” Private label will play an increasing role at the chain, Hayes emphasized. Jerry Shore, cfo, remarked that over the past five years the chain has doubled both revenues and store count.

Petra Nemcova Smiles for Fortunoff

Fashion model Petra Nemcova has stepped into the shoes once worn by Laruen Bacall: spokesperson for jewelry and home furnishings retailer Fortunoff. She will grace marketing materials, websites and store displays to attract younger, hip consumers. A portion of jewelry sales from the Petra for Fortunoff Collection will aid her Happy Hearts Fund, to assist children who have suffered hardship from natural, economic or health related disasters. The Petra Heart holiday ornament designed by Christopher Radko is exclusive to Fortunoff.

Williams-Sonoma High on E-commerce

Noting that the “direct channel is over 40% of total revenues” for Williams-Sonoma Inc., evp and chief marketing officer Patrick Connolly told analysts at the Goldman Sachs Global Retailing Conference that Web and catalog sales also help W-S build and use “intimate customer knowledge,” a competitive advantage. He said Pottery Barn Kids is especially strong in e-commerce. Sharon McCollam, evp, coo and cfo, pointed to recent e-commerce improvements for West Elm and the W-S Home division.

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