By  on February 10, 2009

Plus-size women’s apparel retailer Charming Shoppes Inc. on Monday made additions to its direct business, merchandising division and transformation team.

The Bensalem, Pa.-based company tapped Bill Bass, former vice president and general manager of Sears, Roebuck & Co.’s direct business, to head its Charming Direct division as interim president. Bass, co-founder of multichannel retailer Fair Indigo, will help develop and integrate Charming Shoppe’s e-commerce business. Bass served as senior vice president of e-commerce and international at Lands’ End before its 2002 acquisition by Sears.

On the merchandising side, the company appointed Rachel Ungaro and James Ferree as senior vice presidents of general merchandising for its Fashion Bug brand.

Ungaro, who joined Fashion Bug in 1999 as a buyer, was promoted to the position with responsibility for casual apparel, accessories and outerwear.

Ferree, who will be in charge of career apparel, dresses, intimate apparel and footwear, had served at Macy’s Inc. as vice president and divisional merchandise manager for women’s and petite sportswear.

Charming Shoppes also announced the appointment of Tony Romano to be executive vice president of business transformation, which involves managing the company’s restructuring and cost reduction programs. Since 1997, Romano had been at AnnTaylor Stores Corp., where he was senior vice president of logistics and then as executive vice president until 2008. Previously, Romano had been president of international operations at Charming Shoppes.

“The transformation of our merchandising processes and the attainment of significant cost savings through our restructuring plan will position us for significantly improved operating performance for the future, in addition to further strengthening our balance sheet and liquidity,” said Alan Rosskamm, chairman and interim chief executive officer.

Hurt by the weak retail environment, the retailer, which has been refocusing on core brands Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug and Catherines, said last month that it cut 225 jobs and was restructuring.

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