Tracy Margolies

Tracy Margolies, a senior executive at Bergdorf Goodman, is joining Saks Fifth Avenue as chief merchant on May 11, filling the slot vacated by Jennifer De Winter last February.

NEW YORK — Tracy Margolies, a senior executive at Bergdorf Goodman, is joining Saks Fifth Avenue as chief merchant on May 11, filling the slot vacated by Jennifer de Winter in February.

This story first appeared in the April 16, 2015 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Two weeks ago, Saks named Marc Metrick president, succeeding Marigay McKee. Margolies will report to Metrick.

Margolies is currently senior vice president and general merchandise manager of beauty, contemporary, footwear and handbags at Bergdorf’s.

Sources said the abrupt departure of McKee, coming only 15 months after she joined Saks from Harrods, made the crucial task of selecting a chief merchant easier for Metrick. During McKee’s tenure, Saks experienced several departures. Executives at Hudson’s Bay Co., which owns Saks, have acknowledged that McKee was not the right fit for the luxury chain, though the business has held up.

With the selection process, “There were a couple of different lanes I could have taken, but I wanted someone who could really integrate the merchandising strategy across all of our different corporate initiatives,” said Metrick, citing store openings and renovations, next year’s entry of Saks into Canada, and the retailer’s omnichannel push. Metrick said it was important to hire someone who could “get the merchandising strategy really accelerated and pushed forward, with minimal on-boarding time and someone who wanted to be partner to me. She is a partner. She knows the Saks brand and understands what it is going to take to get it where we want it to go.”

Asked if other changes would be made to the merchant team, Metrick replied, “I feel really good about our merchant organization right now.”

Margolies said her first order of business would be “getting to know the team and stores again.”

Getting the right brands and the right amount of merchandise has been a challenge for Saks, which has a fleet of stores of varying sizes, demographics and merchandise needs around the country. “I see that as an opportunity,” Margolies said. “It’s a pivotal time at the company and there are lots of opportunities.”

Saks competes most directly for brands against the stronger Neiman Marcus.

Margolies has been at Bergdorf’s for two and a half years, and earlier worked at Saks, where as a vice president and divisional merchandise manager of women’s footwear, she was instrumental in the launch of the successful Saks 10022-Shoe concept. “She’s able to build a consistent presentation standard from a service and product level,” Metrick said. The current strategy at Saks entails elevating the store experience and product and expanding the store base in the U.S., as well as Canada beginning next year.

Margolies’ skills as a merchant will complement those of Metrick’s, whose strengths are in merchandise allocation and planning processes, data mining, financial controls, business development and marketing. Metrick was executive vice president and chief administrative officer of Hudson’s Bay Co., before becoming Saks president.

“Tracy knows the Saks culture, has strong vendor partnerships and brings a built-in passion for the Saks brand. When the chief merchant position opened up at Saks, I immediately thought of Tracy, and when I assumed my role as president she was my first call. I’m confident that she will help us elevate the brand and continue to drive our strategy forward,” Metrick said.

ntemporary, footwear and handbags at Bergdorf Goodman.