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John Cruz to Lead Saks Fifth Avenue Flagship

Vice president and general manager of Beverly Hills unit succeeds Suzanne Stemper-Johnson, who’s led the New York store since 2007.

Saks Inc. has made a change at the top of its highest-volume store.

John Cruz will return to the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship in New York as senior vice president and director, effective April 29. He succeeds Suzanne Stemper-Johnson, who’s led the store since 2007 and will stay on to assist in the transition before departing to “pursue other interests,” according to Saks.

Cruz, who will report to Jennifer de Winter, executive vice president of stores, has been vice president and general manager of SFA’s Beverly Hills store since 2010. He served as general manager of the New York store for two years beginning in 2005 and as vice president and general manager of the unit for three years after that. With Saks since 1994, he has also worked in its Chicago; Chevy Chase, Md., and Highland Park, Ill., stores.

“We are very fortunate that John, who is currently leading our second-largest volume store and who has spent many years on the management team of the New York store, is returning to our flagship store in this important role,” said Stephen I. Sadove, chairman and chief executive officer of Saks Inc. “His strategic abilities and keen focus on both our customers and our associates make him an ideal leader for our iconic New York location.”

Stemper-Johnson spent nearly three decades with Saks.

The Fifth Avenue store, on the corner of 49th Street, is responsible for about 20 percent of the company’s sales, or more than $620 million of the $3.15 billion in revenues generated in the fiscal year ended Feb. 2. Gross square footage, excluding office space, is about 650,000 square feet of Saks’ 7.2 million square feet of leased and owned space. The corporate fleet numbers 43 full-line stores in 20 states, plus 65 Off 5th units, five licensed international stores and the company’s e-commerce site at saks.com.