NEW YORK — Robert L. Mettler, the Sears, Roebuck & Co. executive who has been instrumental in rebuilding the chain’s fashion assortments and image, leading to a long string of solid quarterly sales gains, was promoted Thursday to president of merchandising. The position is a new one.
Mettler, who was president of apparel and home fashion, will oversee for all merchandise buying, product development, strategy and marketing in Sears’ full-line department stores.
He joined Sears as president of the apparel and home fashion group in 1993. Prior to that, he was president and chief executive officer of the Robinsons division of May Department Stores.
“It’s an opportunity to give Bob Mettler an additional responsibility, because he’s done a fabulous job with our apparel,” Arthur C. Martinez, chairman and ceo of Sears said Thursday.
“He adds the hard lines piece of the business for the department stores.”
Sears also said William L. Salter, president of hard lines, was named president of home stores. He succeeds Marvin M. Stern, who was named special adviser to Martinez.
“I essentially talked [Stern] out of retiring early,” Martinez said. “He’ll stay actively involved in special projects.”
Allan Stewart, who continues as president of stores, will assume responsibility of human resources and finance within the full-line store organization.
Sears said the appointments will strengthen the full-line department stores and advance the accelerated growth of off-the-mall stores. Off-the-mall stores specialize in selling hard goods and furniture.
Mettler, Salter and Stewart continue to report to Martinez.