NEW YORK — Holt Renfrew & Co., Canada’s luxury retailer based in Toronto, finally filled a key slot last week by naming David Asher vice president of women’s wear.

Asher will join Holt Renfrew on Jan. 1. He succeeds Evelyn Reynolds, who left the merchant’s post this past January. In the interim, Caryn Lerner, president of Holt Renfrew, has been acting as the head women’s merchant.

Filling the post was critical, considering Holt Renfrew is on a drive to strengthen relationships with many designers and attract some who have yet to sell the store. Lerner, in a recent WWD interview, said that with designer merchandise, “we are buying more, editing selectively and going deeper in key styles.”

She also is broadening designer assortments to cover a wider range of categories and elevating the special events calendar to include more designer appearances at Holt Renfrew.

The company said that Asher has 15 years experience in the luxury retail sector, including senior roles at Vivienne Westwood, Neiman Marcus and, most recently, Bergdorf Goodman, where he served as vice president and divisional merchandise manager for men’s sportswear. Earlier at Bergdorf’s, he was vice president and dmm for couture, European collections and sportswear.

“This is an exciting time to join Holt Renfrew,” Asher said in a statement. “It’s a strong company, with global recognition. There’s incredible support for enhancing the women’s wear division and there are tremendous opportunities for the company to rise to even higher levels of performance and customer satisfaction.”

The 168-year-old Holt Renfrew operates nine stores and two outlets in Canada. The chain is expected to crack $400 million in sales this year. In 2006, Holt Renfrew will replace its Vancouver store in the Pacific Center with a new unit in the same mall that will be about twice the size of the current one.

This story first appeared in the October 25, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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