Jerald Politzer is moving into Loehmann’s corner office, taking over as chief executive officer, according to sources.
Politzer, whose résumé includes stints as executive vice president of merchandising at Filene’s Basement and ceo of Salant Corp., is to succeed Robert Friedman, who last year said he would retire after 16 years of running the off-price retailer.
Friedman, who led Loehmann’s through myriad transitions, including expansions, bankruptcy and ownership changes, declined to comment on his successor Tuesday.
“At some point, everyone has a defining moment when they say it’s time for a change,” Friedman told WWD last year. “This was mine.”
He is expected to stay on as a consultant for Istithmar, the Dubai investment firm that owns Loehmann’s and Barneys New York.
Beginning in 1921 with a store on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn, Loehmann’s carved out a fashion niche for itself, offering high-end goods at discounted prices.
The chain now has 67 doors and sales of $550 million. Most of its sales volume comes from stores in California, New York, Florida and the Chicago area.
Loehmann’s has been tweaking its mix, adding more handbags, jewelry, intimate apparel and children’s wear, as women’s sales slow down across the industry.
Istithmar World Capital, a sovereign wealth fund owned by Dubai, initially bought into Loehmann’s with Arcapita Bank, according to the fund’s Web site. After repositioning Loehmann’s and “realizing the immense growth potential in the U.S. retail sector,” Istithmar bought out Arcapita’s stake in 2006 for $300 million. It purchased Barneys last year.
The impact of sovereign wealth funds on fashion and the global economy has just begun to be felt.
The vast pools of wealth, often derived from oil production or government caches of foreign currency, could inject more than $1 trillion into the global equity markets over the next five years, according to Deutsche Bank Research.