SEARS NAMED BUFANO EXEC VP OF SOFTLINES

Byline: David Moin

NEW YORK — Sears, Roebuck on Monday named Kathryn Bufano, a veteran of Macy’s and Lord & Taylor, to the new post of executive vice president of its $9 billion softlines business.
Bufano will start at Sears on Jan. 1 and report to chairman and chief executive Alan J. Lacy. She will oversee merchandising strategies, including brand development and worldwide sourcing, for women’s, men’s and children’s apparel, footwear, home fashions and jewelry.
Bufano, known as a results-driven, bread-and-butter merchant with strong experience in private label, seems like a good fit for Sears, given the chain’s new strategy to develop a “megabrand” for classic women’s, men’s and children’s wear, to replace the Crossroads and Trader Bay proprietary labels and eliminate 570 brands and labels that mean little to consumers. Sears also plans to extend the Apostrophe career private label into casual clothes.
Bufano succeeds Leslie Mann, who since January was acting president of softlines. Mann had been senior vice president of accessories, footwear, fine jewelry, cosmetics and home fashions and could end up reporting to Bufano.
Herbert Mines, chairman of Herbert Mines Associates, conducted the search. “There’s no question, Sears intends to remain in apparel and narrow the focus, and Kathryn will work with Mr. Lacy and decide where to take the business,” Mines said.
Bufano, 49, was president and chief merchandising officer for The Dress Barn since February. Dress Barn named Keith Fulsher, vice president and merchandise manager of sportswear, interim chief merchandising officer. Before Dress Barn, Bufano was Macy’s East executive vice president and women’s general merchandise manager for six years, and spent 17 years at Lord & Taylor, ending up as senior vice president and gmm in 1989. She began her career in 1976 as a Charles A. Stevens store manager.

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