Personnel Updates:
Bebe Stores Inc. has hired Ben Baum as Chief Digital Officer.
Belk Inc. announced Brian Marley’s Exec VP and CFO, will retire in May and be succeeded by Adam Orvos, currently Exec VP of Human Resources.
Express Inc. promoted David Kornberg to President.
Golfsmith International has named Sue E. Gove President and CEO.
Guess Inc. said that its COO J. Michael Prince and CFO Dennis Secor both have resigned. The company said it does not have any immediate plans to replace the COO position and will realign these responsibilities among various senior executives. Michael Relich, Exec VP and CIO, will assume additional operational responsibilities, including logistics. Nigel Kershaw, VP Finance & Accounting, will assume the role of Interim CFO.
The Jones Group Inc. announced the promotion of Cynthia DiPietrantonio to COO. In this expanded role, DiPietrantonio will oversee production in The Jones Group’s overseas facilities, including its production offices in China and Hong Kong, in addition to her current responsibilities overseeing the day-to-day operations of the company.
REI promoted Brian Unmacht to COO, expanding his role to oversee retail, e-commerce, merchandising, private brands, information technology and supply chain.
Sears Holdings Corp. has named Ryan Vero Senior VP and President, Grocery, Drug and Pharmacy.
Shoe Carnival announced that Mark L. Lemond is retiring from his positions as President, CEO. Clifton E. Sifford will succeed Lemond as President and CEO, and will also have the title of Chief Merchandising Officer. In other promotions, W. Kerry Jackson will assume the additional position of COO.
Stuart Weitzman has promoted Susan Duffy to Chief Marketing Officer. The company also announced that Sally Ross has joined the company in the newly created role of Chief Merchandising Officer of Retail, Jonathan Lelonek as Exec VP U.S. Wholesale, and Samara Hodgson has joined the company as VP Social and Digital Innovation.


Financial Focus:
JCPenney Co. reported a 26.1% decline in third-quarter same-store sales, more than the 17.9% that Wall Street analysts were expecting. Overall sales fell 26.6% to $2.93 billion. Internet sales fell 37.3% to $214 million.


Mergers and Acquisitions:
Signet Jewelers U.S. Division has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Ultra Stores, Inc.


Industry Insight:
Bakers Footwear Group has begun liquidating inventory from 150 Bakers Footwear stores nationwide. The going-out-of-business sales at 70 percent of the retailer’s Bakers and Wild Pair stores are expected to continue through the end of the year, and the company will also be selling the fixtures and equipment from many of the stores.
Claire’s Stores Inc. has opened its first store in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Panama.
DSW Inc. has opened a store in Carolina, Puerto Rico. The 19,000 sq. ft. store, located at Plaza Carolina Mall, marks the shoe retailer’s first-ever store outside of the continental United States.
Holt Renfrew & Co. will launch a new discount chain called hr2, with a first store in March 2013 in Quebec, followed by planned locations across the country by 2015. The stores will range in size from 25,000 sq. ft. to 35,000 sq. ft.
Hot Topic Inc. announced plans to test a new store, called Blackheart, which will specialize in dark, edgy lingerie. It is opening five stores in Southern California and Texas malls by mid-November. Blackheart products will be available online beginning Nov. 15.
Kate Spade New York is unveiling a new apparel and accessories brand, Kate Spade Saturday, which will officially launch in the U.S. in spring 2013.
Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. is shuttering its Rugby division which includes 14 locations.


Real Estate:
Nordstrom plans to open a Nordstrom Rack on Long Island, NY. The approximately 32,000 sq. ft. store is scheduled to open in spring 2013. The company also plans to open its first Nordstrom Rack location in Alabama. The approximately 35,000 sq. ft. store is scheduled to open in spring 2013 at River Ridge shopping center in Birmingham, AL.
Recreational Equipment, Inc. will open a 24,500 sq. ft. store in Silverdale, WA, in the fall of 2013.
Stein Mart is expanding with the opening of seven stores this fall. The new stores are located in Surprise, AZ, Katy, TX, Tucson, AZ, and Charlottesville, VA. The McAllen, TX, Biloxi, MS, and San Dimas, CA, stores are a relocation of another area store to improve sites.