Neiman Marcus announced several broad organizational realignments at the executive buying level last week, some of the first major changes by Jim Gold, new president of the specialty retail group. Despite the sweeping changes, senior vice president and general merchandise manager Other changes include: senior vice president and general merchandise manager Jonathan Joselove is now in charge of designer sportswear, couture, handbags, women's shoes and accessories.
J.C. Penney added a full-fledged online store to its Facebook page, allowing users to select merchandise and complete transactions without having to leave the social networking site. Facebook users can also 'like' products and click a 'share' tab that posts products to personal pages. The integrated store is part of the Plano, Texas-based retailer's plan to engage customers and 1.3 million Facebook friends with their brand.
The Jones Group has licensed its kids' footwear brands, including Nine West, Sam & Libby and Mootsies Tootsies, to the New Jersey-based firm LJP International. Under the new partnership, the Dockers boys' line will be discontinued. As part of the change, current Nine West kids' executive Joe Truglio will make the move to LJP as director of sales.
Just in time for last-minute Christmas shopping, Madonna and Iconix Brand Group's line of juniors' apparel, Material Girl, arrives in Canadian stores. Retailer Hudson's Bay Company partnered with the brand to sign a direct-to-retail deal that will see the partial line arrive in 91 Bay stores across the country. Tops, dresses, jacket, denim, footwear and handbags will be the first items on the racks. Canada is the first country outside the U.S. to carry the brand. In the U.S., the line is exclusively available at Macy's.
Zutano's reach continues to expand with a debut collection of nursery bedding and décor from Kids Line. The whimsical mix of colors and prints the apparel line is known for will extend into these categories with lion-, elephant- and owl-themed crib bedding, plush mobiles, hampers, storage bins, area rugs, window treatments, lighting accessories and wall decor. The Line is geared to the specialty market and online shops.
The Juvenile Products Manufacturer Association (JPMA) announced the 10 Most Innovative Products in 2010. Along with several feeding accessories, including the Adiri Ultimate Nurser, Medela Breastmilk Labeling Lids, other winners include baby monitors by Angelcare and The First Years, the TrueWomb SleeperSwaddle, Stay-Clean Silly Squirt bath toys by Sassy, Fisher Price's duel-purpose Swing to High Chair and Dutailier's Auto-Lock glider chair.
The Children's Place ranked as the top pick for children's apparel, according to a retail trends survey conducted last month among 300,000 independent mystery shoppers and merchandisers by Market Force Information, a customer intelligence firm. The Children's Place earned 17 percent of the votes in the young children's apparel category, for kids 10 and younger, while Gymboree ranked second, with 13 percent. Kohl's and Carter's were tied for third with 12 percent.
Juvenile product specialty retailer Giggle recently opened its 14th store in Scottsdale, Ariz. The new location is near Scottsdale Center's interactive fountain for children and families and features the chain's signature stripe awning with misters to cool off visitors. Opening celebrations included a weekend of treats from Whole Foods Market, gear demos, goodie bags, parenting seminars and storytime.
Itzy Ritzy, designers and manufactures of modern and functional products for babies, toddlers and adults, promoted Naz Akel to vice president of national sales. The company has also added Mindy Isacoff and Susannah Blair to its sales force.
Naz Akel, who joined the company in 2007 as general manager, has been promoted to Itzy Ritzy's vice president of national sales, allowing the company to focus on key domestic markets. Naz will continue to oversee operations as well as manage Itzy Ritzy's national sales team.
Children's apparel helped increase overall sales across the Internet and at department stores during the busy shopping holiday. Dillard's reported an 8 percent increase in same stores sales for the four weeks ended November 27, 2010, and according to a statement released by the company, sales of children's apparel were "significantly" above trend compared to the same time period in 2009. J.C. Penny's also reported an increase in Internet sales via JCP.com, driven in large part by children's apparel.