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Sue Fuller Named Chief Merchant at Vera Bradley

The former Carhartt and Ralph Lauren executive is charged with generating growth through brand extensions.

Sue Fuller has joined Vera Bradley Inc. as chief merchandising officer, a new post for the Fort Wayne, Ind.-based accessories and handbag firm.

Fuller, who was most recently senior vice president and general merchandise manager of career apparel marketer Carhartt Inc., will be responsible for building and communicating “a compelling vision for Vera Bradley’s growth through line and brand extensions,” the company said.

Prior to joining Carhartt, Fuller served in merchandising posts with Ralph Lauren Corp., Lands’ End, L.L. Bean and Kohl’s Corp.

“Sue’s talent and passion will bring more discipline to our merchandising process,” said Robert Wallstrom, the former Saks Inc. executive who was appointed chief executive officer of Vera Bradley in November. “Her broad experience across various merchandise categories and price points added to our strong design organization will help us strengthen our current assortments, grow revenues and deliver solid margin results while further engaging our customer.”

In the first nine months of the year, Vera Bradley’s net income dropped 10 percent to $39.4 million, or 97 cents a diluted share, while revenues were flat at $378.5 million.

Reiterating his “buy” rating on the stock, Jefferies analyst Randal Konik said Fuller’s appointment “fills a much-needed void at the company in so far as merchandise direction. Additionally, her prior retail experience dovetails nicely with [Vera Bradley] and should serve to sharpen product perspective going forward.”