J.C. Penney Co. Inc. advanced its reinvention strategy on Friday by naming Laurie Beja Miller executive vice president of The Square, its upcoming new format for the center core.
Since the fall, Penney’s has installed new top management, overhauled its pricing, pared much of the inventory, and introduced a new logo and advertising with Ellen Degeneres. The store is also planning to phase in over the next three-and-a-half years 100 shops-in-shop in a sweeping revamp of the selling floor that also involves creating The Square as a major component. Penney’s has said little about The Square other than it will be a gathering place with ongoing attractions and services, possibly product demonstrations and other special events.
Miller, 54, has spent 20 years at top retailers and brands, working in merchandising, marketing and product strategy. Penney’s said she focused on delivering “unique in-store and multichannel shopping experiences.”
Most recently, Miller was senior vice president and general manager, Americas at Bare Escentuals, which she joined in 2010. Earlier, she spent three years as general manager and vice president of Nike Retail U.S. Before that, she was vice president, product development and merchandising at Hallmark Cards; vice president, special projects at Apple Inc.; senior vice president and gmm at Pottery Barn, and executive vice president at Disney Stores for product development. She also spent more than a decade at Spiegel, where she was general manager of electronic media, and began her career at department stores including Milwaukee Boston Co. and Marshall Field’s.
“In the golden age of department stores, America’s families came for more than just to shop,” said Ron Johnson, Penney’s chief executive officer. “They were able to have fun experiences and were offered a range of useful services. We are going to revive that excitement and convenience at J.C. Penney, and Laurie is the ideal person to lead the charge. She brings an exceptional track record of creating differentiated shopping environments, unique insight into customer behavior and a passion about retail that will all be invaluable as we execute our concept for J.C. Penney stores.”
Miller will join Penney’s on April 1 and report to Johnson. Her appointment is consistent with Johnson’s drive to recruit talent from outside the company to rebuild the management, including tapping Michael Kramer, former Kellwood Co. ceo, as chief operating officer, and former Target Corp. executive Michael Francis as president.
Last week, however, in a shake-up of the buying team, Elizabeth Sweney, executive vice president and general merchandise manager of women’s apparel, juniors and Sephora, was promoted to chief merchant. Sweney has been instrumental in launching private and exclusive brands such as Liz Claiborne, MNG by Mango, Call It Spring, a.n.a., City Streets, Decree and I [Heart] Ronson. Steve Lawrence, executive vice president and gmm of men’s, left the company, as did Clarence Kelley, executive vice president of planning and allocation.
EXCLUSIVE: Two and half months after John Targon, cofounder and codesigner of Baja East, was hired as creative director of the contemporary division at Marc Jacobs, he has left the company, WWD has learned. Marc Jacobs International, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, confirmed Targon’s departure in a statement: “John Targon is a talented designer and we appreciate the work he has done here. Ultimately working together did not make sense for the brand and we wish him the best.” Read the story by @jessiredale, link in bio. #wwdnews
@theluxurycollection is officially launching a collection, tapping Sofia Sanchez de Betak for the capsule. Over 30 styles will be featured in the Chufy x The Luxury Collection, debuting next month at Bergdorf Goodman, The Webster, FiveStory and more. De Betak, known as “@chufy,” drew inspiration for the collection from her trips to Japan in the past year #wwdfashion
@lhd, founder and CEO of @thewebster, has teamed up with @lebonmarcherivegauche for the European launch of her ready-to-wear line, LHD. The launch will come with an exclusive pop-up opening today that’s set to run through May 20. Located on the second floor, it carries her debut Miami-themed resort collection, launched in November as see-now-buy-now. #wwdfashion
@longchamp, which marks its 70th anniversary this year, just opened its biggest U.S. store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. On the lower level there’s a floor-to-ceiling display of the brand’s iconic Le Pliage bag – in all of its different colors, shapes and sizes. Customers can also have their product personalized in-store by imprinting names, initials or emblems. #wwdfashion (📷: @ericmtownsend)
“Whenever I’m in that place of sound and music, I don’t have fear or nervousness…This album has a lot of themes of courage and boldness and I want to be the soundtrack for people’s lives. I’ll be so happy if [my songs] evoke strength in people, which I know music has done for me,” says @kimbramusic of her newest album “Primal Heart.” The New Zealand-born singer sat down with WWD to talk about her music, newest tour and connecting with hear fans — read more on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
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With her costume pearl necklace and what-you-see-is-what-you-get style, Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday at age 92, was a straight-shooter from start to finish.
Born Barbara Pierce in New York City, Bush served as the 37th first lady, as well as the country’s second lady from 1981 to 1989. In addition to being part of the longest presidential marriage — 73 years — Bush also had the unlikely distinction of having one son, George W., become the 43rd president and another son, Jeb, run unsuccessfully in 2016. Having served as second lady during the Reagan administration’s two terms and lived all over the world during her own husband’s ascending political career, Barbara Bush made it clear that literacy — not fashion — was her priority. Read more from Rosemary Feitelberg’s obituary on the late First Lady in WWD.com, link in bio. #barbarabush #wwdnews
Western and ’90s trends have influenced denim for fall 2018. Think raw, dark and coated jeans mixed with bold prints and tough leather. #trendtuesdays #wwdfashion (Styled by @thealexbadia;📷: @ryanplett)