Personnel Updates:
Barneys New York announced Amanda Brooks, VP and Fashion Director, has resigned.
Bergdorf Goodman named three new merchants, all with titles of VP and DMM. Mimi Fukuyoshi will handle men’s designer sportswear and shoes, Andrew Mandell will handle decorative home and Little BG, which is children’s wear, and April Henning will handle 5F, Bergdorf’s contemporary floor. Aja Passero was promoted to Senior VP and GMM for women’s shoes, jewelry, cosmetics, 5F and sixth floor sportswear.
Blue Nile announced the appointment of Harvey Kanter as CEO and President.
Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corp. announced Paul Metcalf will join the company as Exec VP and Chief Merchandising Officer.
Charming Charlie appointed four retail executives: Judi Langley was named Exec VP and Chief Merchandising Officer, John Hnanicek as Senior VP and CIO, Melissa Whitehead as Senior VP Store Operations, and Robin Beighley as Store Operations Director.
Charming Shoppes announced that Jeffrey H. Liss has been promoted to Senior VP, General Manager of Charming Direct.
JCPenney made some personnel changes. CFO Michael Dastugue has left the company. Liz Sweney was promoted to the post of Chief Merchant, Siiri Dougherty was promoted to Senior VP GMM of Women’s Apparel, and Liz Asay was promoted to Senior VP Sephora. Brian Robinson joined the company as VP Marketing and Design Partnerships, Katheryn Burchett was promoted to Senior VP Merchandising and Marketing Integration, and Anne Cashill joined the company as Senior VP Strategic Brands. Bill Gentner was moved to Senior VP Strategic Brands, and Steve Seabolt was appointed Senior VP Strategic Brand Alliances. Eric Hunter was named Senior VP Marketing. Greg Clark has been promoted to Senior VP Creative. Mike Fisher has been appointed Senior VP Visual Presentation. The company laid off 600 workers from its corporate headquarters, which equaled 13% to 14% of the headquarters staff and did not include any senior executives. In addition, JCPenney will close its customer call center in Pittsburgh, PA on July 1. The move will eliminate 300 jobs. 
Liz Claiborne Inc. announced George Carrara as its new COO and CFO. Carrara most recently worked for Tommy Hilfiger.
Payless ShoeSource has named Michele Bergerac Senior VP and GMM for Payless’ women’s and accessories businesses.
Recreational Equipment Inc. promoted Bill Baumann and Brad Brown to Senior VP Information Technology, and E-Commerce and Direct Sales respectively. In addition, Kathleen Peterson has been named VP REI Private Brands. REI also named CFO Eric Artz as CFO, effective May 2012.
Saks Incorporated announced that Michael Burgess has been named President, Saks Direct, effective May 7, 2012.
Sears Holdings Corp announced Monica Woo has left the company, and David Lukes has joined the company in its real estate business unit as President Real Estate Development.
Stage Stores said its President and CEO Andy Hall has resigned, and will be replaced in the interim by Michael Glazer.
Urban Outfitters Inc. named Frank Conforti as its next CFO.
VF Corporation announced that Candace S. Cummings will retire on April 30. Laura C. Meagher will be named VP General Counsel & Secretary and join VF’s Operating Committee effective May 1.
Zale Corporation announced that Jamie Singleton has been appointed Senior VP and General Manager of Piercing Pagoda.
Mergers and Acquisitions:
Dick’s Sporting Goods will buy the trademarks and intellectual property rights to Callaway Golf of Carlsbad’s Top-Flite golf equipment and accessories brand.
Industry Insight:
Express announced the launch of Express Next, a new points-based loyalty program open to all Express customers throughout the United States. It replaces the previous loyalty program that was only available to Express Credit Card holders, and is to reward brand interaction via social media.
Ferragamo USA Inc. unveiled a newly renovated Fifth Avenue flagship. The 20,000 sq. ft. store is the retailer’s largest in the world.
Gap opened its first standalone franchise store in South Africa.
H & M will open a new chain in 2013, and plans to call its new retail brand “& other stories”.
J. Crew Group Inc. will expand distribution to 107 countries, from the 29 nations the brand currently ships.
Lord & Taylor opened its first full-line store in more than a decade, in Salem, NH. The bi-level, 122,000 sq. ft. store, which is also the retailer’s first store in northern New England, is located within The Mall at Rockingham Park.
Roberto Cavalli Group will open its first store in Indiathis summer.
Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th announced it reopened in Nashville, TN. The 27,500 sq. ft. store will be located in the Opry Mills Shopping Centerand marks the after it was closed by floods in May 2010.
Sears will stop selling apparel in 10 stores, in favor of more popular items such as mattresses and recliners.
Sears Holdings announced plans to separate its Sears Hometown and Outlet Businesses, to focus on its core business. Sears Holdings is considering a sale of its Lands’ End mail-order catalog business, as part of its move to raise up to $2 billion.
Tiffany said it plans to open 24 new stores in 2012, including nine in the Americas, seven in Asia-Pacific, three in Europe and five in the United Arab Emirates. It plans nine new stores in 2013.
Real Estate:
Aeropostale Inc. plans to open 18 and close ten Aeropostale stores, open 30 P.S. from Aeropostale stores, and has five store remodels slated for 2012.
Alice + Olivia LLC will open a 2,000 sq. ft. store at 431 W. 14th St. New York, NY.
Ann Taylor is closing its store at CityPlace in downtown West Palm Beach, FL.
Casual Male Retail Group Inc. plans to continue the expansion of its DestinationXL (DXL) concept, with 150 to 175 locations expected to open by the end of fiscal 2015. In fiscal 2012, the company plans to open 35 new DXL stores, and expects to close approximately 70 of its Casual MaleXL and two Rochester Clothing stores.
Charming Shoppes Inc. plans to close 90 to 105 underperforming stores in 2012 including 35 to 40 Fashion Bug stores, 35 to 40 of its Catherines Plus Size, and 20 to 25 Lane Bryant stores. The company also said that it will open approximately 20 new stores including 12 Lane Bryant and eight outlet locations, relocate 25 mall locations to lifestyle and power centers, and update 40 stores.
Dick’s Sporting Goods has opened a new store in Albuquerque, NM. Located at Cottonwood Commons, this is the first Dick’s Sporting Goods location in New Mexico.The company announced 40 new stores are slated to open this year.
Dillard’s announced it will close its full-line department store in Hutchinson, KS.
DSW Inc. announced the opening of a new store at The Shoppes at Grand Prairiein Peoria, IL, a new store in Fargo, ND, and the relocation and grand reopening of its Union Square location in San Francisco, CA.  The company plans to open 35 to 40 new stores in 2012.
Eastern Mountain Sports Inc. plans to open three new stores over the course of the next three monthsin Connecticut, Maine and New Jersey. An existing location at the Plaza at Buckland Hills in Manchester, CT will move into a new, 18,831 sq. ft. space in April. A 20,442 sq. ft. store will open in South Portland, MEin May. The third 13,013 sq. ft. store will open in June at the North VillageShopping Center in North Brunswick, NJ.

Fossil, Inc., in 2012, expects to open 70 to 75 new stores with equal distribution between United Statesand international markets, while closing approximately 18 stores.
Francesca’s Holdings Corp. plans to open 76 stores in 2012.
J. Crew Group Inc. plans to open 42 stores in fiscal 2012; 16 J. Crew retail stores, 10 factory stores, one crewcuts store and 15 Madewell stores. The company also announced plans to close one Madewell and one J. Crew location.
Joe’s Jeans Inc. announced the opening of its 23rd retail store located in the Aventura Mall in Aventura, FL. The approximately 1,500 sq. ft. boutique will open on Friday, April 20th.
Kohl’s announced it will remodel approximately 50 stores this year.
Lord & Taylor plans to return to Boca Raton, FLby opening a new store after closing up shop almost nine years ago. The 80,000 sq. ft. store is likely to open in the fall. The company opened a new store in Yonkers, NY. The 80,000-sq.-ft. store is located in Westchester’s Ridge Hill.
Marshalls opened six new stores in Canada in Oshawa, Hamilton, Burlington, Kitchener, Barrieand Ottawa in March.
Neiman Marcus will close its only Last Call by store in San Diego County, at Las Americas Premium Outlets in San Ysidro, CA in mid-April. A new 85,000 sq. ft., three-level Neiman Marcus store opened in Walnut Creek, CA.
New York & Co. Inc. expects to open 12 new stores, including 11 outlet locations and plans to remodel four existing locations and close two stores, ending the first quarter of fiscal year 2012 with 542 stores, including 37 outlet stores. By the end of fiscal 2012, the company expects to operate 41 to 46 outlet stores.
Rue 21 plans to open 120 stores in fiscal 2012. The company plans to convert 30 stores in fiscal 2012 into its larger rue21 etc! layout.
Sears Holdings Corp. plans to shutter 53 specialty stores in the first half of 2012. The store closures will include 43 of the retailer’s smaller-format hometown dealer stores and 10 Sears Hardware stores.
Shoe Carnival reported 30 new stores in the works for 2012, about a third of them new-market debuts in Dallas/Fort Worth and Puerto Rico. Ten stores are slated for relocation and five will be closed.
The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. announced it has signed a lease for the 122,500 square foot facility located in the Pine Ridge Mall, Pocatello, ID.The company will initially remodel and operate a store solely on the lower level of this facility in approximately 61,300 square feet. Remodeling of the site is expected to begin in April 2012 and be completed by the end of October 2012, at which time the company will open a new Herberger’s store. The new location will be the first store in Idahofor the company.
The Limited opened a new, 4,300 sq. ft. store in Roseville, CA. The opening is part of the company’s Californiaexpansion plan, with four other Limited stores slated to open across the state by year-end. The other Limited stores will open in Fresno, Santa Ana, San Diegoand Westminster, CA.
True Religion Brand Jeans is opening at Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh, NC. The new store is expected to be open by the end of June or early July.
UNIQLO Co. Ltd. will open a flagship store in San Francisco in fall 2012. The 29,000 sq. ft. store will be located near Union Squareat 111 Powell St. The store is the retailer’s first location outside of New York and is part of a larger expansion plan for the U.S. market.
Urban Outfitters plans to open 55 to 60 new stores this fiscal year, with 13 of those slated to open in the first quarter. Free People opened a 7,000 sq. ft. bi-level flagship store in Rockefeller Center, NY and plans to open its first international locations, with two stores planned for Toronto.

Wet Seal said it plans 25 to 30 net store openings at Wet Seal and no net store openings at Arden B In 2012.
Zara opened its biggest U.S. location, a 32,000-sq.-ft., three-level flagship on a primo stretch of Manhattan real estate: Fifth Avenue at 52nd Street.