COUNTERPUNCH

BBW BEEFS UP: Bath & Body Works has promoted Kathleen Schneider to executive vice president of merchandise planning and process change. She reports to Beth Pritchard, president and ceo of BBW, and will be responsible for evaluating and implementing resource allocation processes in addition to her current role of managing planning operations.
Also, Kerry Graskewicz has been promoted to vice president of merchandise planning, reporting to Schneider.

SAKS HIRE: Saks Fifth Avenue Enterprises has named John Woodward senior vice president of human resources, service and selling, reporting to Christina Johnson, president and chief executive officer. It’s a new post.
Woodward was vice president of human resources at various divisions of The Limited. Earlier, he held human resources positions at Lands’ End, Maas Brothers/Jordan Marsh, Burdine’s and The Broadway. Woodward began his career with Allied Department Stores in 1970.

CONTE SHIFT: James T. Conte has been appointed to the new position of senior vice president, marketing at LeSportsac Inc., reporting to Timothy W. Schifter, president and chief executive.
Conte was with LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton as senior vice president of the Selective Distribution Group. Prior to that, he was senior vice president of marketing at LVMH’s eLuxury.com. “He will play a central role in our international and domestic strategic initiatives and business development,” said Schifter.

HONORING SUSLOW: Through a $50,000 gift to the Fashion Institute of Technology, an endowed scholarship has been established, in memory of Robert J. Suslow, to provide full tuition for a fashion merchandising management student at FIT. The seed money for the endowment was given by retired Kohl executive, Jay Baker and his wife Patty, in memory of their close friend. Suslow, who died in 1998, served as chief executive of Saks Fifth Avenue and president of Calvin Klein Industries during his career. For information on making a contribution to the Robert J.Suslow Endowment Scholarship Fund, contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at (212) 217-8868.

NEW JOB: The J. Jill Group has promoted Olga Conley to the new job of president of corporate services. She retains her title of chief financial officer and remains responsible for managing the financial and information systems.

CLOSING THE DEAL: Saks Inc. has finalized the sale of nine department stores to The May Department Stores Co. for approximately $308 million. The Birmingham, Ala.-based firm said it will use the proceeds to pay down debt and repurchase equity.
The stores comprise 1.7 million square feet and generated annual sales of about $210 million. They had been acquired from Dillard’s Department Stores in fall 1998. Saks expects to record depreciation and amortization expenses of $225 million to $230 million and charges of $72 million for accounts receivables.
As reported, Saks sold the real and personal property, along with certain related merchandise inventory and customer accounts receivable, of five Proffitt’s stores in the Nashville market; one McRae’s store in Baton Rouge, La.; and three Parisian stores in Baton Rouge, La., Lafayette, La., and Orlando, Fla.
May Co. plans to briefly close the eight Tennessee and Louisiana stores before reopening this spring. However, May Co. will substantially remodel the Orlando store and reopen it in February 2002.