NEW YORK — Douglas Hannant will open his first freestanding store at The Plaza Retail Collection, revealed Elad Properties, The Plaza’s owner. The designer will occupy the 850-square-foot space on the upper level concourse recently vacated by Manrico cashmere. The store, which is expected to open in the fall, will showcase “the world of Douglas Hannant,” said Frederick Anderson, Hannant’s business partner.

This story first appeared in the April 21, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Elad on Friday said Kristin Franzese had been named executive vice president of retail. Franzese will supervise the marketing and overall operations of the 160,000-square-foot, multilevel retail space, including the 53,000-square-foot grand concourse below street level. She was previously senior director of e-commerce and retail at Vera Wang. Beth Ann Mahoskey, previously marketing director of The Shops at Columbus Circle at the Time Warner Center, was named director of retail marketing at The Plaza.

Franzese is the third person to assume the role since the retail collection bowed less than a year ago. Elad on March 3 had named John Gregory, a former Macy’s executive, as general manager of retail, replacing Anthony Nicola, who resigned. A day later, Gregory had a change of heart and decided not to take the job.

The management changes may be an indication of the difficulties in executing The Plaza’s retail strategy. The collection has developed into a quirky group of retailers, including Seize Sur Vingt, Domenico Vacca, Ghurka, Kenneth Jay Lane, Arthur, Assouline, Demel Bakery, Warren Tricomi, Virtu and Qiviuk, a knitwear brand that uses the hair of the Canadian Arctic musk ox, among others.

Franzese addressed a concern among retailers that the Plaza’s lack of a marketing strategy may be hurting its business. “We are creating a unique destination that stands out in a challenging retail environment,” she said. “We will be launching a creative marketing and communications strategy that conveys this distinctive vision and reality to the consumer marketplace.”

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