By  on March 20, 2012

Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corp. has a new head merchant.

Paul Metcalf, formerly with The TJX Cos. Inc., will join the $3.85 billion, 477-unit Burlington Coat Factory in April as executive vice president and chief merchandising officer. Tom Kingsbury, chief executive officer, was acting as head merchant and had the general merchandise managers reporting directly to him. Now the gmms will report to Metcalf, who reports to Kingsbury. “This will give us more visibility in the marketplace,” Metcalf told WWD.

Metcalf has extensive merchandising experience at department store and off-price retailers. In 2006, he joined TJX first as gmm for men’s and was promoted to senior vice president, chief merchandising officer for women’s apparel in 2008. Metcalf began his career at May Department Stores Co., where he worked in several divisions from 1987 to 2006 in merchandising roles of increasing responsibility.

Asked about challenges he faces on his new assignment, Metcalf said, “The Burlington Coat customer is a very loyal customer. We are very strong in the Hispanic market. We are also very strong among African-American customers. We want to keep those loyal customers but diversify. The opportunity is with the suburban mall [shoppers]. We may be missing that a little bit.”

Metcalf also said the company is “definitely looking to add doors,” to possibly reach new customers, and suggested that the company could broaden its selection to become less dependent on outerwear as a percentage of the total business without losing volume growth on the category. He declined to specify how much outerwear represents of the total business. Last quarter, with unseasonably warm weather hurting outerwear sales, Burlington Coat reported a 1.7 percent decline in comparable-store sales, but Kingsbury said at the time that due to “diligent inventory management, we are pleased with the level and currency of our inventories as we head into 2012.”

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