Retail Revolving Door: Latest Shakeup Sees Parisian CEO Resign

NEW YORK — It’s clearance time at retail. Along with the merchandise, top-level merchants are getting dumped almost daily in the continuing...

Parisian is a unique animal among the Saks Inc. retail properties, with some spinoff potential. It’s considered a lower-priced Saks Fifth Avenue, but more fashion and service-oriented than other Saks Inc. department stores. Bob Buchanan, vice president, A.G. Edwards & Sons, previously estimated Parisian’s 2002 sales at $885 million, with comp stores sales flat. Parisian’s newest store opened in Rochester Hills, Mich. last September. Recently, the chain renovated an 85,000-square-foot unit in the Brookwood Mall in Birmingham, Ala., where Saks Inc. is based.

Jones becomes Parisian’s sixth ceo in six years. Officials said it is undetermined whether he will remain at Parisian as ceo, or if someone new will be hired. Before Gruen, Parisian’s ceo list included Travis Saucer, named in July 1999; Tom Wyatt, who came on board in October 1998, and Bill Capiello, in April 1997. Prior to that, Donald Hess was ceo. The Hess family owned Parisian before it went public in 1983. It was bought by Proffitt’s Inc., (now Saks Inc.) in 1996. Parisian expanded in the Southeast and Midwest in the Eighties.

Consolidations at Saks department stores began in earnest in 2000, with the creation of the Milwaukee-based Northern Department Store Group. It includes Herberger, Boston Store, Carson Pirie Scott, and Younkers, which was added to the group last month. Also in 2000, Proffitt’s and McRae’s were consolidated into a second group, headquartered in Alcoa, Tenn.

In another change at Parisian, Kevin Wills, previously senior vice president of merchandise planning and administration for the Saks Inc. department store group, was named Parisian’s executive vice president of operations. He becomes Jones’ right-hand man at Parisian. The company will appoint a successor to him at the department store group.

Big retail changes occurring in the past week include:

Former Gap ceo Millard Drexler joined J. Crew as chairman and ceo, succeeding Emily Woods and Ken Pilot, respectively.

J.C. Penney named Lana Cain Krauter as executive vice president and general merchandise manager of its men’s and children’s divisions, succeeding William Cappiello.

Talbots promoted Ken Bosworth to executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, ousting H. James Metscher.
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