Merchants to watch include:
- Loretta Soffe, Nordstrom's executive vice president and general merchandise manager for all women's, excluding designer. Soffe has been revamping the business to get a better balance in career, which has been less robust than casual and contemporary. She might be tough to recruit since she's been at Nordstrom for 22 years. "She's personable, smart, has a strategic mind and is opened-minded," said one source.
- Tracy Gardner, executive vice president of merchandising, planning and production at J. Crew, has a strong track record of results and could one day run a division of a large corporation.
- Robert Aldrich, executive vice president of wholesale, Zegna, and former president of John Varvatos, is strategic, knows product and is a standout in luxury men's wear.
- Rob Smith, executive vice president and general merchandise manager at Macy's East, has his fingers on the pulse of the teen market, helping to push Macy's in a more youthful destination.
- Jack Boyle, Kohl's senior vice president and divisional merchandise manager for women's, has been getting more responsibility and is considered young, energetic and good at executing a strategy.