Byline: Valerie Seckler

NEW YORK — P. Gerald Mills, former head of Dayton Hudson Corp., joined Jacobson’s Stores Inc. on Friday as chairman and chief executive officer.
Mills, 68, who retired as chairman and ceo of DH in 1985, succeeds Mark K. Rosenfeld in those posts at the 27-unit fashion specialty chain based in Jackson, Mich. Rosenfeld, 50, will continue as a member of Jacobson’s board of directors.
Mills has experience in a broad range of retail management, including operations, buying and administration.
“This suggests an ability to take Jacobson’s to the next level as a multistate operator rather than a strictly regional specialty store,” said a company spokesman. “He’s a highly focused executive and one who believes in team-building.”
Industry observers noted that Rosenfeld, a 24-year veteran of Jacobson’s, has seen his travel duties expand with the firm’s growth beyond the Great Lakes region into Kansas, Kentucky and Florida.Rosenfeld’s hectic travel schedule and the fact he has two young children probably had some bearing on his decision, sources said.
As for Mills’s emergence from retirement, the Jacobson’s spokesman said: “It’s a chance for him to come back to the work force and join a company he competed against. I think he saw it as an invigorating opportunity.”
Mills and Rosenfeld were unavailable for comment.
After notching its first net loss in 20 years in 1995, Jacobson’s boosted its profitability in the first quarter of fiscal 1996 to $1 million, or 18 cents a share, against year-ago earnings of just $172,000, or 3 cents. Sales in the period ended April 27 grew 6.2 percent to $106.5 million from $100.3 million