NEW YORK — Fabian Mansson, who became president and chief executive officer of the struggling Eddie Bauer division of The Spiegel Group on Thursday, wants to reposition the brand "in line with its outdoor heritage."

The Seattle-based retail and catalog firm has been grappling with design directions and difficulties connecting with consumers, emphasizing casual sportswear, including some career casual, and has been closing more stores than it’s been opening. Sales dipped to $1.6 billion last year, from $1.75 the year before. For most of this year, comp-sales have been declining in the double digits, though for June they were down 6 percent.

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