The CIO Stretch. Retail technology executives, quietly honing their business skills by digging deeper into operations, are getting recognition — and expanded job responsibilities in recent weeks. At New York jewelry company David Yurman, vice president and chief information officer David Minster added the title senior vice president, operations. As reported May 10, Liz Claiborne’s cio, John Sullivan, is now responsible for sourcing in addition to his information technology role. At Chase-Pitkin, a division of $3.6 billion Wegmans Food Markets, Rochester, N.Y., cio and controller T. Christopher Dorsey now heads up the commercial sales division. Bob Dunst, executive vice president and chief technology officer of $40 billion grocer Albertsons, added supply-chain responsibility this month. In his broadened role as evp, technology and supply chain, Dunst oversees procurement, inventory management, distribution, warehousing and logistics for the Boise, Idaho, chain.

In another noteworthy move Neco Can joined J. Crew as cio, filling a vacancy left by Paul Fusco. Can joined J. Crew from Abercrombie & Fitch, where he was senior director, IT application development. Previously he was at Gap.

Overseas Oversight. The Hudson’s Bay Co. stepped up audits of overseas factories in 2004 as part of its overall ethical sourcing initiative. In a report released May 9, HBC said 97 percent of the 474 facilities audited met HBC’s compliance requirements to ensure human rights are protected in the workplace. That’s an improvement from 2003, when 90 percent of factories audited were approved. Other enhancements to its ethical sourcing program include introduction of a “three-strike policy.” Suppliers that violate HBC’s conduct code three times in an 18-month period will be suspended from doing business with the company for at least two years. In addition, HBC provided vendor training and also is involved in the Fair Factories Clearinghouse initiative, expected to yield a shared industry database to help companies monitor workplace conditions in overseas factories.

Site Smarts. Tweens chain Club Libby Lu, which opened a store May 1 in Sterling Heights, Mich., and another the next day in Manchester, Conn., is using a geographic information system (GIS) to forecast sales potential of prospective mall stores and to guide site selection.

This story first appeared in the May 18, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Whether parent company Saks Inc. will continue to open more Club Libby Lu stores or sell off the division, the technology tool has already given the chain an edge in negotiations with mall operators. Paul Sill, managing partner of Chicago-based Forum Analytics, described the solution his company developed for Club Libby Lu during a conference hosted by software vendor ESRI last month at Chicago’s Palmer House.

Club Libby Lu’s system analyzes numerous metrics about a prospective new store location and generates what it calls the “Girl Power Index,” a scoring system that grades sites considered for new stores, Sill said. The software is also used to benchmark existing stores’ performance. When market forces in a given trading area suggest an existing store cannot exceed a specified sales target, Club Libby Lu has used that data to negotiate more favorable terms when leases came up for renewal, and saved money.

The analytical tool takes into account factors specific to a location, such as a mall’s gross leasable space, sales per square foot, current tenants and those tenants’ sales volume, store site visibility within the mall, income, racial and age demographics and overlap of customers from existing Club Libby Lu stores. While conventional site selection analysis can take two weeks, the automated system produces results in 90 seconds, Sill said.

Club Libby Lu’s system was built using ESRI’s ArcView GIS interface coupled with Microsoft’ Excel spreadsheet and Access database software.

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