– WATTS TO QVC: Claire Watts, former vice president of merchandising at Wal-Mart Stores Inc., will join QVC Inc. on Jan. 7 and become president of U.S. commerce in May. Watts will oversee planning, programming, merchandising, broadcasting, TV sales and QVC.com for the U.S. operation. She will report to Mike George, president and chief executive officer of QVC. While Watts is credited with weeding out dated brands, building up Wal-Mart’s product development division and opening a Manhattan trend office, she was also the architect of an unsuccessful plan to bring trendier and pricier fashions and home decor to Wal-Mart. She resigned in July after a decade at the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer. She began her career in the May Co.’s executive training program. Watts subsequently held senior merchandising and product positions at Paul Harris, the Limited and Lands’ End.
– PLAYING DEFENSE: A federal agency group, including the Commerce Department’s Office of Textiles and Apparel, has launched a Web site intended to make it easier for American apparel and textile manufacturers to get information on the often-complicated rules of the Berry Amendment, a law that requires the Department of Defense to buy domestically produced apparel and textiles unless products are not made in the U.S. or in cases of national security. Defense contracts are vital to the U.S. textile and apparel industry, which produces products ranging from uniforms to tents and boots for the military. The DOD bought more than $2.2 billion in fiscal 2006 in apparel and textiles, according to government estimates. The Web site is otexa.ita.doc.gov/berry.htm.