By  on April 26, 2010

The Children’s Place is building up its senior team to fuel new strategies being orchestrated by president and chief executive officer Jane Elfers, who took the reins in January.

Next month, Natalie Levy joins the chain as senior vice president of merchandising. She was Ann Taylor’s senior vice president and general merchandise manager, and before that held the same title at Lord & Taylor, overseeing proprietary brands for women’s sportswear, accessories, men’s and children’s.

Dina Sweeney, a 26-year veteran of The Children’s Place, has become senior vice president of outlets, a new position. She previously held the merchandising role.

Barrie Scardina has been named senior vice president of planning and allocation, and was previously Liz Claiborne’s vice president of retail operations. Scardina succeeds Richard Flaks, who left in August.

Last month, Larry McClure was named senior vice president of human resources, replacing Linda Martin, who resigned.

“With these appointments, the senior team is largely in place, with a couple of slots yet to be filled,” Elfers said Friday.

“In March, we announced that the company is focused on five key initiatives that we expect will drive sales and profit for 2010 and beyond,” she continued. “Two of these initiatives — strengthening the merchandise and optimizing inventory management — are critical to our success. Most of the merchandising changes will be in effect for the latter half of 2011.”

Elfers, who, before joining The Children’s Place, was president and ceo of Lord & Taylor, also said there is a “tremendous opportunity to improve our outlet experience” with accelerated store openings in value centers. The other initiatives call for sharpening the marketing message and e-commerce growth.

The $1.6 billion Children’s Place focuses on newborns to 12-year-olds with merchandise under its own label and has 950 stores in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, including 129 outlets, and a Web site. Since the company’s announcement Dec. 11 that Elfers would join as president and ceo, the stock price has increased 68.4 percent, closing at $49.06 on Friday, and market capitalization has grown by $550 million to $1.35 billion. During that same period, the S&P Retail Index, which ended the week at 494.59, has grown 18.8 percent.

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