PRESSMAN DEPARTS POLO: Bonnie Pressman, senior vice president of women’s accessories at Polo Ralph Lauren, has left the company. Pressman joined Ralph Lauren in 1998 as senior vice president and women’s fashion director, giving up a high-profile position as Barneys New York’s top women’s merchant amid difficult times for the specialty store. A spokeswoman for Polo confirmed Pressman’s departure, but declined to give specific details on her move, or to name a possible replacement. Pressman could not be reached for comment.
CHEF BOOK TURNS PAGE: The Neiman Marcus Group Inc. said Monday it sold its Chef’s Catalog direct marketing business for an undisclosed sum to a newly formed arm of the San Francisco-based private equity firm JH Partners LCC called Pikes Peak Direct Marketing Inc. Dallas-based Neiman Marcus, which acquired the catalogue in 1998, said in a statement it expects to take a pretax loss of $15 million to $17 million in the second quarter in connection with the sale. The Chef’s Catalog garners about $75 million in annual sales, according to Neiman Marcus. “The Chef’s business is an attractive opportunity for JH Partners and our investors, and is consistent with our investment focus on growth-oriented middle market consumer products and services companies,” said John Hansen, president of JH Partners, in a statement. Elixir Advisors counseled Neiman Marcus on the transaction.
KMART’S REWARDS: Kmart Holding Corp. on Monday launched its private label Kmart Rewards credit card, which is being managed by HSBC-North America’s retail services business. The card, which has no annual fee, offers $10 off the first card purchase of $50 or more, and a $10 reward for every $250 in account purchases thereafter. The retailer also will develop promotional offers for its cardholders, tailoring benefits to their individual purchasing habits.
AU REVOIR ASR: After its debut there two years ago, ASR has pulled out of the European market and will not stage its third foreign show next July. ASR, which offers three events a year in the U.S., began its new venture in Anglet, France, to cater to the booming surf market abroad. It attracted marquee exhibitors like Billabong, Body Glove, O’Neill, Oakley, Quiksilver and Roxy and about 2,600 buyers to its sophomore edition last July, a 20 percent increase from the year prior. However, ASR show director Kevin Flanagan said the timing of the European summer holiday and location of the event proved to be tough hurdles. Flanagan said the French region was well suited for surf-based companies, but lacked strong skate and urban appeal and proved expensive for traveling retailers. “While ASR strove to provide an exciting window to the industry, we were unable to find a compromise on either a date or location,” he said.