By  on March 27, 2006

After years of collaboration, retailers describe Liz Claiborne Inc. as a top-notch supplier, innovator and business partner.

Tom Cole, vice chairman of Federated Department Stores, said, “We have worked very closely with Liz over the years, [collaborating] on shipping, invoicing, all the things on the administrative side of the business. Liz is a terrific partner, an innovator willing to take risks. The company is the first to try new things, and it is one of our best resources.”

Cole added that one of Liz Claiborne chief executive officer Paul Charron’s biggest contributions has been his focus on the merchandising and marketing side of the business, as well as on execution. Cole said the size and growth of Liz Claiborne puts them in a position to make things happen, such as taking costs off the table. He said the company is focused on collaboration, always striving to work together with its retail partners.

“Paul’s leadership style is to try new ways,” Cole reiterated. “He likes new ideas, and his imprint on Liz Claiborne is the realization that change is necessary no matter how well you’re doing. [Charron] is a businessperson who understands the value of how the back office works.”

Cole’s sentiment toward Charron and Liz Claiborne was echoed by Cinny Murray, chief merchandising officer at Stage Stores, who also praised the firm’s brands. “The Liz brands group is the most well-coordinated, with a lot of brand integrity and consistency at all levels. Whether one is buying apparel or handbags, to a consumer it all looks like one single focus.”

Murray described Liz Claiborne as a great business partner. “They are very collaborative, and very interested in the consumer and in getting feedback on what the consumer thinks. There is a constant dialogue between [us] on what’s working and what’s not working. They make adjustments where needed. They do the whole 360 degrees to make sure they are tapped into our business model, and with how that syncs up to their brands.”

Stage carries many of Liz Claiborne’s brands, from moderate to better. Regardless of which brand is offered, the process is consistent, according to Murray.

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