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Retail briefs

Spiegel Group names vp, cio

The Spiegel Group announced that Richard Mozack has been named vp and cio, effective immediately. He reports to Alexander Birken, senior vp and cao. Mozack leads all of the information systems application development, technical services and network services for The Spiegel Group.

He replaces David Kardesh, who resigned to accept a position at another company.

Jo-Ann Stores re-emphasizing merchandising

Jo-Ann Stores has renewed emphasis on merchandising, and feels that it now offers a better assortment for customers, executives said during its second quarter conference call. The company completely reorganized its merchandising team last year, and this fall season will mark the first time the new team will be completely responsible for the assortments.

Many new merchandising initiatives have been achieved, Alan Rosskamm, ceo, said. For example, the retailer felt, as well as was told by customers and merchants, that for a long time it was not paying proper attention to its core business of sewing, and as a result the fall apparel assortment is "far better than a year ago."

It also continues to focus on opening more of its superstores, with 20 scheduled to open before Thanksgiving, and about 30 to 40 more next year.

Restoration Hardware cites growth of textiles

Now a fifth of the merchandise mix at Restoration Hardware, textiles "continue to have strong comp-store contribution throughout the company," said Gary Friedman, president and ceo during the retailer's second quarter conference call. Only two years ago, textiles were 4 percent of sales and the company set out to grow this area. Furniture, on the other hand, was cut from 32 percent to 25 percent.

Restoration also expanded and improved its window treatments, hardware and lighting, and these and other initiatives performed on plan. For the quarter bath hardware and textiles continued to perform at a high level as planned, he said. Markdowns also increased, mainly in outdoor furniture and textiles.

The retailer also will launch a new prototype this fall, with three locations: Richmond, VA, Cleveland, and Corte Madera, CA. The 8,000-to-12,000-square-foot format can be sized for the market vs. the traditional 10,000-to-12,000-square-foot unit used for all locations, and will reflect the new merchandise positioning."

ShopKo remodels to open soon, another announced

In addition to the two previously announced remodeled stores — in Ashwaubenon and Neenah, WI — scheduled to open Sept. 14, ShopKo also announced the renovation of a third, in Eau Claire, WI, to be completed by early to mid-November, said Sam Duncan, president and ceo.

The new remodels implement new decor and will give more floor space to home decor, housewares, home electronics and consumables, at the expense of toys, sports and some apparel departments. Though ShopKo is just starting the testing process in these stores, once it gathers the results, it will begin to roll out changes chainwide, Duncan said during the company's second quarter conference call.

In addition, ShopKo has realigned store management, and each unit will now have an apparel manager and a manager of hard lines and home, responsible for all aspects of these areas.

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