STEIN MART NAMES CEO: Michael D. Fisher has become chief executive officer of Stein Mart Inc., replacing the retiring John H. (Jack) Williams Jr. The succession plan was announced in June. Fisher, 55, joined Stein Mart in 1993 as executive vice president of stores after nearly 20 years in department stores. He became Stein Mart’s president and chief operating officer in 2001. Williams, 65, joined Stein Mart in 1980, when the company consisted of three stores. He became president in 1990 and ceo in 2001. The chain currently operates 265 stores, which sell moderate to designer brands in women’s, men’s, children’s, accessories, gifts, linens and shoes. Jay Stein continues as chairman and Williams as vice chairman. Fisher and Gwen Manto, executive vice president of merchandising, will be nominated as directors.

BENDEL’S OWN SHOW: Those fashion followers who can’t wrangle invitations to the upcoming New York shows will be able to get a taste of them at Henri Bendel. The retailer, along with Seventh on Sixth, is staging its inaugural Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Boutique in which designers like Matthew Williamson, Diane Von Furstenberg and Luella Bartley will make special appearances at the store in the days following their runway shows. In some cases, the designers will also preview to shoppers several looks from their fall shows. "We think there is more and more interest in bringing the consumer some of the energy and excitement that happens inside the tents," said Fern Mallis, executive director of Seventh on Sixth. "Everything we’re doing there [at the tents] is about getting somebody into the stores ultimately." And, like at the tents, sponsors like Evian andCourvoisier will be handing out samples to shoppers.

HAGGAR NOMINEES: Rae Evans will stand for reelection to Haggar Corp.’s board of directors at the firm’s annual meeting on April 2, and James Neal Thomas has been nominated to fill the board post to be vacated by Donald Godwin, whose legal work on Haggar’s behalf disqualified him from consideration as an independent director based on Nasdaq’s proposed new rules. Thomas retired in 2000 as a senior audit partner with Ernst & Young and, if elected, will serve on the board’s audit committee in compliance with new regulations issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission. In a move opposed by Haggar’s board, Kahn Brothers & Co., which controls about 13 percent of the company’s stock, is soliciting proxies to elect Thomas Kahn and Mark Schwarz to the two seats being elected at Haggar’s upcoming meeting.

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