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Fashion Girls for Japan’s sample sale at The Bowery Hotel netted $270,000 for the relief effort, and the group’s not done yet.

TAKING A TOUR: Several Saks Fifth Avenue executives may seem absent from headquarters, the stores or the markets this week. But actually, in a first for the luxury chain, top management is taking a three-day field trip to Google, Microsoft and Facebook on the West Coast to learn about technology and take in some corporate culture from the outside. “The idea is to get exposed to cutting edge technology trends and learn about the potential applications and implications for Saks,” said Stephen I. Sadove, Saks’ chairman and chief executive officer. “I have no idea what we’ll see. We are going to learn.”

About 15 Saks officials, including members of the executive committee and other senior managers, are making the trip, which Sadove disclosed during a panel on retail leadership sponsored by New York University’s Stern School of Business and Herbert Mines Associates. His point: “Strong leaders ask questions, are willing and wanting to learn, and not just doing the day-to-day activities.”

The other panelists agreed that you have to look at what’s going on outside your own company to make it more innovative. Susan Davidson, ceo of Scoop, and Zac Posen, stressed “flexibility” as a key to success. “You have to be able to adapt to the changing landscape,” in addition to having “a strong vision, developing, communicating and executing a strategic plan.”

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