NEW YORK — Susan Falk will join United Retail Group Aug. 19 in the new post of president of its Avenue retail store division.Falk, 51, will be responsible for all aspects of the retail store business, including product development, sourcing, merchandising, planning and allocation, marketing and sales. She will report directly to Raphael Benaroya, chairman, president and chief executive of URG. Falk will also join UR’s corporate executive committee and will participate in shaping companywide strategy and brand positioning across all channels of distribution.A prominent figure in the apparel industry, Falk has more than 20 years of management experience in the sector, most recently as director of product development at Body Shop Internationalbased in London. Prior to that, Falk was president and chief executive director of Diane Von Furstenberg LP. From 1985 to 1997, she held senior positions with Limited Brands, including president and chief executive of Express and Henri Bendel, respectively. She was also the general merchandise manager of Express. Working as gmm, she was instrumental in establishing the Express brand and she led merchandising during a threefold growth in sales and profits.At Express, she also recruited and trained several merchants who went on to lead other divisions of Limited Brands "Susan is a top-rate merchant with proven leadership skills," Benaroya said in a statement. "She is a strong, experienced executive. I am confident that she will quickly influence product merchandising, grow sales productivity and enhance the identity of the Avenue brand. Susan is just the right executive to take Avenue retail stores to the next level."The Rochelle Park, N.J.-based specialty retailer of large-size women’s fashion apparel, footwear and accessories operates 551 Avenue stores plus its own catalog and Web site.

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