FINKELSTEIN SAID TO BE EYEING RETURN TO RETAILING ARENA
Byline: David Moin
NEW YORK — Edward S. Finkelstein wants to get back into retailing.
The one-time Macy’s chairman and chief executive officer, who lost his job when the chain went bankrupt in 1992, is now going after Cherry & Webb, a mid-sized privately held women’s specialty chain, based in South Attleboro, Mass., sources said this week.
Financier and former CBS chairman Laurence Tisch is said to have a piece of Cherry & Webb. Tisch lost millions when Macy’s went down the tubes, after Finkelstein’s ill-fated leveraged buyout. But Tisch and Finkelstein, a source said, are coming to terms in a Cherry & Webb deal that may be signed soon.
One source said Finkelstein is seeking an equity position and the top slot at the chain. According to a store employee, it’s being run by a chief financial officer, and the chief executive slot remains vacant.
Cherry & Webb declined to comment and Finkelstein couldn’t be reached.
Cherry & Webb wouldn’t be Finkelstein’s first foray into specialty retail. At Macy’s, he rolled out a specialty division including Charter Club and Aeropostale stores. Most of the specialty stores were closed by Federated Department Stores, which took over Macy’s in 1994. Federated had Aeropostale on the selling block, and Finkelstein was reportedly eyeing the chain. But Federated took it off the selling block last year.
After Finkelstein left Macy’s, he opened a store in China in October 1993. It closed in February 1995. Currently, Finkelstein operates a consultancy here.
Cherry & Webb operates about 50 moderate-price stores in New England. Among its higher-priced lines are Liz Claiborne and Estee Lauder. A few units have up to 20,000 square feet of space, but most are in the 7,000-square-foot range. The chain reportedly posts about $100 million in annual sales.