Personnel Updates:

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. is separating its chairman and CEO roles and expanding its board’s size to 12 members. Under the new arrangement, Michael Jefferies will remain a director and CEO, but will no longer serve as chairman. The company named Arthur Martinez as non-executive chairman.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. announced CFO Jonathan Ramsden will also serve as COO.

American Eagle Outfitters announced that CEO Robert Hanson, has left the company. Chairman Jay L. Schottenstein was named Interim CEO while the company searches for a replacement. Roger S. Markfield has agreed to postpone his retirement and will continue in his current role as Vice Chairman and Executive Creative Director.

Brown Shoe Company announced Diane Sullivan is now CEO, President and Chairman.

Destination XL Group Inc. announced that Exec VP, COO and CFO, Dennis Hernreich has resigned. John E. Kyees has been named Interim CFO.

Francesca’s Holdings Corp. announced that Theresa Backes, President and COO has left the company. The board of directors appointed Neill P. Davis, Francesca’s CEO, to the additional title of President. The retailer said it will not replace the COO position, and will realign the responsibilities among Davis and other existing executive officers.

Hudson’s Bay Company announced its CFO Michael Culhane has resigned. Assuming the CFO role will be Donald Watros, who will be stepping into his new role as President. The company appointed Douglas Scovanner Exec VP of Finance and Accounting.

Hudson’s Bay Company has created HBC Digital and appointed Michael Burgess as the newly created group’s President.

JCPenney announced Ed Record, a former executive with Stages stores, has been appointed as CFO to replace Ken Hannah.

Levi Strauss & Co. announced the appointment of Craig Nomura as President of Global Retail.

Ross Stores has promoted Michael Hartshorn to CFO, retaining his Senior VP title.

Sears Holdings announced that Norman Miller will join the company as Senior VP and President, Automotive. The company also announced Mark Panzer has been hired as Senior VP and President Pharmacy.

Sports Authority has hired Jeremy Aguilar as CFO. He replaces former CFO Tom Hendrickson, who retired from the company.

The Buckle has promoted Kari G. Smith to the newly created position of ExecVP of Stores.

Vera Bradley restructured its executive team and promoted key figures. Kevin J. Sierks has been promoted to Exec VP, CFO. Roddy Mann has been named Exec VP, Strategy and Operations. Pamela Sours has been promoted to Senior VP, Operations. Stacy Knapper has been promoted to Senior VP, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary.


Financial Focus:

Bebe Stores Inc. is exploring a potential sale and is reaching out to private-equity firms.

Dots LLC has filed for bankruptcy protection. The company has arranged to borrow $36 million to keep operating as it reorganizes under court protection and implements a new merchandising strategy.


Mergers and Acquisitions:

Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. said it will buy Eddie Bauer.

National Vision, Inc. has been acquired by KKR & Co. L.P, a major global investment firm.


Industry Insight:

Chico’s is gearing up to launch its brand in Mexico through an exclusive franchise agreement. The company’s expansion in Mexico will begin with a stand-alone boutique opening at Perisur Mall, Mexico City, in the spring of this year.

Flip Flop Shops has entered into a franchise agreement to develop 50 Flip Flop Shops in the Middle East. The new Flip Flop Shops locations will begin opening in early 2014, and will be developed throughout the region over the next 10 years.

H&M plans for a net addition of approximately 375 new stores globally in 2014. The company will enter new markets, including Australia, India and the Philippines, and open four new H&M online markets.

Lands’ End is looking to further its position as a lifestyle brand by entering the body care category with the launch of its Coastal Living Body Care Collection.

Macy’s is planning to renovate its Brooklyn, NY flagship, and it could be the template for a new urban format at stores across the country.

Saks Inc. is planning to both increase the amount of high-end luxury goods it sells and also more than double the store count of Saks Off 5th outlet stores.

Sears Canada, which laid off more than 1,300 employees in January, is cutting an additional 624 jobs. The company will eliminate a mid-tier level of leads within its full-line stores, resulting in an average reduction of five associates per store.


Real Estate:

An outlet shopping center with about 50 stores, to be called The Outlets at Alliance, will be built in far north Fort Worth, TX. The mall is anticipated to open in fall 2015.

Cabela’s Inc. plans to enter three new markets in 2015 and 2016. The retailer will open a new 42,000 sq. ft. store in Ammon, ID in spring 2015, a new 70,000 sq. ft. store in Fort Oglethorpe, GA in fall 2015 and a 97,500 sq. ft. store in Short Pump, VA in spring 2016.

Nordstrom Inc. plans to relocate its full-line Hawaii store to a new space within Ala Moana Center. The new three-level, approximately 186,000 sq. ft. store is expected to open in spring 2016. Nordstrom will continue to operate its current location until it relocates. The Nordstrom store will be moving to the Ewa end of the center on Piikoi Street. The company also announced plans to close its Lloyd Center Mall store in Portland, OR, and its Vancouver Mall store in Vancouver, WA in January 2015.

Nordstrom Inc. plans to open a 34,000 sq. ft. Nordstrom Rack at Harbison Court in Columbia, SC and a 30,750 sq. ft. Nordstrom Rack at West Towne Crossing in Madison, WI this fall. The company announced plans to open a 35,000 sq. ft. Nordstrom Rack at Mercer Mall near Princeton, NJ in spring 2015. The company also announced plans to open a 35,000 sq. ft. Nordstrom Rack at Christiana Fashion Center in Newark, DE in fall 2015.

Nordstrom Inc. announced plans to open its third fulfillment center at Conewago Industrial Park in Elizabethtown, PA. The 672,000 sq. ft. building, with an additional 470,000 sq. ft. mezzanine is scheduled to open in summer 2015.

Saks Inc. plans to open a new 22,000 sq. ft. Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH store in Palm Beach Outlets in West Palm Beach, FL.

Sears announced it will close its flagship store at the 2 N. State Street in Chicago, IL in April.

Topshop plans to open a 40,000 sq. ft. flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City, NY. The new Manhattan store will be located on the corner of 49th Street, and will open in fall 2014. Topshop is planning a 17,500 sq. ft. store in Fashion Valley in San Diego, CA and a stand-alone 5,000 sq. ft. Topshop store at the Springfield Town Center in Washington, DC in the fall of 2014. Topshop is also planning a 16,500 sq. ft. store at the Galleria Mall in Houston, TX and a 15,500 sq. ft. store at the Lennox Square Mall in Atlanta, GA in spring 2015.

Uniqlo will open its first stores in Southern California this fall, at the Beverly Center in Los Angeles and South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. The retailer also announced it will open an additional location in Northern California, at the Sunvalley Shopping Center in Concord and a store at Stamford Town Center, Stamford, CT.


Technology News:

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. announced a partnership agreement with First Insight, Inc., a technology company that helps retailers make product investment and pricing decisions.

Hibbett Sports has added JDA Markdown Optimization to its supply chain solutions.

Hudson’s Bay Company announced the launch of a new mobile shopping application for both its Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor divisions that allows customers to instantly buy products seen in print by simply scanning an image.

Men’s Wearhouse announced customers in the U.S. and around the world can now shop on the e-commerce site and ship directly to more than 100 countries.