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George Santacroce, an industry veteran whose prior stints include Bergdorf Goodman and Aquascutum of London, has been named U.S. chief executive officer of Moods of Norway International Inc.
The position is new and Santacroce is expected to tap into his extensive retail and wholesale experience to guide the brand as it seeks to expand its presence in the U.S. market.
Santacroce, who served most recently as founder and ceo of Global Market Solutions, an international trade and development firm, will be based out of the brand’s headquarters in Los Angeles.
“We scouted for an experienced retail executive with a youthful mind-set,” said Nils A. Karstad Lyso, chairman and co-owner of Moods of Norway. “George brings fresh thinking and a solid 40 years of successful merchant experience from the fashion retail business. George has the creativity we need, in combination with a strong understanding of what it takes to win market share in this business.”
Moods of Norway currently operates a freestanding store on Robertson Boulevard in Los Angeles, and is expecting to open a second store in New York later this year. It is also available at specialty stores around the country.
Santacroce said he plans to grow the company’s retail presence, develop e-commerce and “expand our better fashion specialty store business. Our goal is to have three Moods stores by the end of 2013 and over a five-year horizon, open 12 to 15 Moods of Norway stores nationwide in major U.S. markets.”
He said that he first discovered the brand during a visit to Los Angeles and was “intrigued.
“What attracted me specifically is the unique spirit and authenticity of the brand, combined with its compelling product and price position. What’s not to love about a brand rooted in Norwegian values that offers ‘Happy Clothes for Happy People?’ That spirit is expressed through everything we do, there’s no other brand like it and the market needs newness.”
Moods of Norway was founded by three Norwegian designers and has an irreverent take on fashion. Its trademark is a golden tractor and its goal is to “make our grandmas happy.”
Santacroce has also worked as ceo of The Collective, a division of the Aditya Birla Group, was president of retail for Tommy Bahama, group president of Amerex Group, president of flagship and specialty retail at Tommy Hilfiger, senior vice president of Bergdorf Goodman, president and ceo of Aquascutum, president of Burberry Shirts, a division of Cluett Industries, and president of Yves Saint Laurent Men’s at Bidermann Industries.