PENNEY’S UTILIZING OUTSIDE TALENT TO DEEPEN POOL

Byline: David Moin

NEW YORK — J.C. Penney Co. is on a raiding mission.
Last year, Penney’s broke its tradition of promoting from within and began hauling in senior-level executives from competitors to pump up its talent pool and, eventually, its results. Now it’s expanding that strategy into buying and brand development.
Among recent changes in women’s: Christine Osborne, formerly with Fossil Inc. and Foley’s, became buyer of suits, suited separates and catalog uniforms, and Catherine Slaughter, formerly with Saks Inc., became brand-development manager of casual sportswear special sizes.
Allison Honeycutt, formerly with Dillard’s, has become fragrance buyer. David Hacker, previously at May Merchandising, has been named divisional trend manager for women’s and girl’s apparel, and Catherine Bokar was named buyer of color and treatment. She was with Elder-Beerman.
Penney’s is also reassigning individuals. Sherri Brown, previously buyer for large-size dresses, has become catalog media manager. Nancy Hillis has shifted from buying fragrances to buying hosiery. Jan Grady has become buyer for infant dress-up suits and sportcoats, coordinates and fleece sets, and is succeeded as the girls’ tops buyer by Tammy Miloro.
Among other changes: Debbie Perser was named children’s division coordination manager; Joni McConnell, is now catalog media manager of boys, and Christian Hey was tapped as strategic financial planning director for children’s apparel.
“These appointments take us another step forward in our efforts to build a world-class merchandising organization that will meet the needs of our customer with the products she expects us to have, when she wants them,” Vanessa Castagna, executive vice president and chief operating officer of stores, catalog and Internet, said in a statement.
Last year, Penney’s recruited Allen Questrom from Barneys New York to be ceo, and last week, named Robert Cavanaugh chief financial officer, moving from the Eckerd division. A new president of catalog and Internet is being sought.

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