Personnel Updates:

Crocs Inc. announced Andrew Rees has been named President of the Crocs brand.

DSW Inc. announced the appointment of Mary Meixelsperger as CFO. Ms. Meixelsperger replaces Douglas Probst, who retired.

Foot Locker, Inc. announced Sheilagh M. Clarke as Senior VP, General Counsel and Secretary, effective June 1. She succeeds Gary M. Bahler, who is retiring on that date.

Gap Inc. announced that has named Marissa Webb as Creative Director and Exec VP of Design of Banana Republic.

Hudson’s Bay Company named Paul V. Beesley as CFO.

Lands’ End has named Steven Rado as Senior VP, Chief Marketing Officer and Becky Gebhardt as Senior VP, Chief Creative Officer.

Levi Strauss & Co. has named former Walmart executive Marc Rosen as Exec VP and President of Global E-commerce.

Michael Kors has named Cathy Marie Robinson as Senior VP, Global Operations.

Modell’s Sporting Goods announced it has hired Deborah Fine to fill a newly created role on its executive leadership team, Chief Commercial Officer.

Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. announced that Roger Farah will retire at the end of the month.

Ross Stores announced Barbara Rentler will become CEO. Rentler will succeed Michael Balmut, who will become Chairman. Other promotions include: Lisa Panattoni to President Merchandising and Bernard Brautigan to Group Exec VP Merchandising.

Saks Inc. named Qianna Smith as Director of Social Media.

Sears Holdings has named Arun Arora as Senior VP and President, Home Services.

Stein Mart Inc. announced its board of directors has created the office of the President and has appointed D. Hunt Hawkins and Brian R. Morrow to share that office.

Urban Outfitters Inc. has appointed Trish Donnelly to the role of president of Urban Outfitters brand, North America, effective July 14.

Vera Bradley has named Rosemary Ricketts as VP of Merchandising, Steve Bohman as VP of Global Production and Thomas R. Giacalone as VP E-commerce.

Financial Focus:

DSW Inc. and Town Shoes Limited announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement whereby DSW Inc. will purchase for cash approximately 44% interest in Town Shoes Limited.

Mergers and Acquisitions:

Columbia Sportswear Co. acquired PrAna Living LLC and its five stores, adding yoga and rock-climbing clothing to its product lines.

Industry Insight:

Aeropostale Inc. announced plans to close 125 of its P.S. from Aeropostale mall-based stores and eliminate 100 headquarter positions.

Ann Inc. opened its first freestanding Lou & Grey store, in Westport, CT. The Lou & Grey brand is a relaxed mix of street wear and lounge wear in neutral colors, with prices ranging from $30 to $100.

Coldwater Creek launched the total liquidation of its brick-and-mortar stores and its website effective May 8.

Eddie Bauer is expanding into footwear territory. The new brand’s new footwear collection is set to debut online and in store July 28.

Express opened it’s first-ever outlet store, at Tanger Outlets National Harbor center in Washington, DC. The retailer plans to open approximately 30 additional factory outlet locations throughout the United States in 2014, targeting such top markets as Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Las Vegas, New York and other top markets.

Forever 21 will debut a new retail concept, called F21 Red, at Azalea Shopping Center in South Gate, CA.

J. Crew Group Inc. is developing a new format aimed at budget-conscious shoppers. Called J. Crew Mercantile, the new format will feature merchandise and prices similar to what is offered at the retailer’s outlet format.

Sears Holdings Corp. is exploring strategic options for its 51% interest in Sears Canada Inc., including a sale.

Sunglass Hut has debuted a new retail brand, Shaded, in the form of a freestanding, open-air kiosk. Targeted at Millenials, the format puts an emphasis on interactivity, with a built-it photo booth that allows for on-the-spot photo taking and photo sharing.

Uniqlo announced it will enter three new markets, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Los Angeles, starting this spring. The retailer will open three stores in the Philadelphia market, six stores in the Boston metro area and five in the Los Angeles market.

Wet Seal Inc. will begin winding down its Arden B brand. Thirty-one Arden B locations will transition to Wet Seal Plus merchandise and the remaining 23 locations will transition to Wet Seal merchandise by late July 2014. Through lease expirations and the exercise of early termination provisions, the company will close 15 Arden B locations through the remainder of fiscal 2014 and 16 in fiscal 2015.

Real Estate:

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. has secured a 743,000 sq. ft. lease for a direct-to-consumer fulfillment center in West Jefferson, OH. The new e-commerce facility is expected to be fully operational and begin shipping orders by spring 2015.

Chico’s FAS Inc. will expand internationally with the opening of three Chico’s boutiques in Canada. Scheduled to open in late August, the locations include: Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga, ON; Upper Canada Mall in Newmarket, ON; and Mapleview Shopping Centre in Burlington, ON.

Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. opened three new stores on April 25. The stores are located in Lawton, OK, Alabaster, AL, and Tampa, FL.

Express Inc.’s factory stores are open now. The 17 new stores, averaging 7,600 square feet, will be stocked with products made specifically for those stores.

Filson Company has opened its first East Coast retail store. The approximately 1,800 sq. ft. Filson store is located in New York’s NoHo district.

Flip Flop Shops has signed a master franchise agreement with Happy Toes Caribbean that calls for the establishment and development of at least 20 new shops throughout the islands, the first of which will open in Aruba in late 2014.

Lane Bryant opened a new store at Woodhaven Commons in Woodhaven, MI.

Nordstrom, Inc. announced plans to relocate its full-line store to a new space within Westfield UTC in San Diego, CA. The new two-level, approximately 145,000 sq. ft. store is expected to open in 2017.

Victoria’s Secret will open its first store in south Los Angeles this fall. The 8,509-sq.-ft. store will be located on the ground floor of Baldwin Hills Crenshaw.

Technology News:

Nordstrom has launched, a new e-commerce site and mobile app, built on a shared platform with HauteLook, Nordstrom’s flash sale business. The new site gives customers access to shop Nordstrom Rack merchandise alongside HauteLook’s signature flash sale events.

Xcel Brands announced the launch of the first Isaac Mizrahi New York e-commerce website,

Green Initiatives:

Kohl’s Department Stores has been awarded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2014 Energy Star Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award for the company’s continued leadership in protecting the environment through superior energy efficiency initiatives. The retailer currently has more than 860 Energy Star-certified locations, more than 70% of its stores nationwide and more than any other U.S. retailer to date.