Personnel Updates:

Bluefly, Inc. announced that Joseph C. Park has been appointed as CEO.
Kate Spade announced that it will open a new full-line store in Seattle’s Pacific Place. The store will be 1,632 sq. ft. and will be the first Kate Spade store in the state of Washington. Kate Spade currently has 66 locations in the United States.
Loehmann’s Holdings Inc named Steven Newman as the new CEO. Joe Melvin, who served as Interim CEO, will resume his duties as COO. Steven Newman most recently served as President of women’s retailer Ashley Stewart.
The Talbots, Inc. named Lesli Gilbert Senior VP of Stores. In this role, Ms. Gilbert will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of Talbots core retail operations in the U.S. and Canada, as well as supporting the implementation of the company’s store reimage and rationalization programs.
Financial Focus:
Syms Corp. said it is mulling selling itself and other strategic alternatives as the company continues to struggle after acquiring Filene’s Basement in 2009.
Mergers and Acquisitions:

The Jones Group Inc. acquired Kurt Geiger, Europe’s largest luxury shoe retailer based in the United Kingdom. The acquisition positions Jones as one of the world’s most powerful portfolios of fashion footwear.
KKR & Co. has agreed to acquire Academy Sports + Outdoors and its 131 locations.
Industry Insight:

Gap Inc. entered the Italian outlet center market, opening a Gap outlet store at the Vicolungo Outlet Center near Milan. Gap currently operates more than 370 stores through its outlet channel. Over the last four years, Gap’s international outlet store base has increased over 500% across the United Kingdom, Canada and Japan. Gap plans to grow this channel further with about 25 additional international stores in 2011 and through new market entries, such as China in 2012.
Liz Claiborne Inc. announced the Liz Claiborne distribution center in West Chester will close within the next year.
Skechers USA announced it has signed a licensing agreement with Street Flyers LLC to produce sporting goods and safety gear collections for children and young adults. Both collections are planned to launch in toy and mass market retailers throughout the United States and Canada in spring 2012.
Real Estate:
Abercrombie & Fitch has renewed its lease, committing to its shop in London for another 10 years and also plans to launch its first childrenswear store in the capital.
Burberry Group announced plans to tear down and replace its Michigan Avenue flagship store in Chicago in favor of a bigger, more dramatic store. During the renovations, the store will move across the street into the Shops at North Bridge. The new store is scheduled to be completed in fall 2012. The company also has revealed that it plans to upgrade its stores in Hong Kong and London.
Cabela’s Inc. announced the opening of its most recent store located on the Tulalip Tribes Indian reservation in Tulalip, WA. The 110,000 sq. ft. store is expected to open in 2012.
Fendi plans to increase its number of stores in China from 16 to 20 by the end of 2012. The new stores will include one in Beijing; one in Tianjin; one in Shenyang; and a second store in Guangzhou. The stores likely will be no more than 6,500 sq. ft. in size.
Kohl’s Department Stores announced Tuesday that it will create 700 to 800 jobs at its customer service operations center in San Antonio, TX on top of the more than 1,000 positions it previously announced it would fill by 2013. The three-story, 90,000 sq. ft. building is slated to open next spring.
Prada SpA recently announced its plans to open 70 more stores in Asia by 2014, 30 of which will be located in China. Prada hopes to expand into the Middle East, Russia and Brazil.
Green Initiatives:
REI increased its carbon emissions by 7.3 percent last year, less than the company’s 14 percent sales growth, according to its fifth annual stewardship report.
Sears says its Canadian stores are making one of the world’s largest replacements of inefficient lighting. More than 130,000 inefficient incandescent spotlights are being replaced with LED lighting in all Sears Home and full-line stores across Canada. Sears says the switch will reduce its electricity use by more than 16 million kWh per year.
Sears Canada also announced that it would be the first national retailer in Canada to ban the sale of incandescent and halogen lighting.The company was recently named Energy Star Retailer of the Year by government agency Natural Resources Canada for the fourth year in a row.