Byline: Vicki M. Young

NEW YORK — Russell Stravitz, vice chairman of Nexchange Corp., will become chairman and chief executive officer of Brylane on July 5, succeeding Peter Canzone, who is retiring.
Stravitz said Thursday he will join Brylane, based here, on May 29 and work with Canzone during a transition period. The $1.5 billion Brylane is among the most successful catalog operations in the country, built on offering primarily moderate and basic merchandise to underserved and lower-income populations, including special sizes. The Brylane catalog company is a fully owned subsidiary of French retail group Pinault-Printemps-Redoute. It once was a subsidiary of The Limited Inc. and became a public company in 1997 before PPR took it over.
One of his goals, Stravitz said, is to offer Brylane’s customers an increased availability of its brands through a greater variety of distribution channels. He didn’t rule out the possibility of an acquisition at some point.
“My objective is to begin thinking through the different opportunities that we have and will put in motion …We will continue to develop brands, whether expanding on brands we have, developing new ones or possibly be opportunistic.”
The predominant business is in women’s apparel, but Stravitz noted that one focus will be expanding men’s apparel.
Stravitz, who prior to joining Nexchange was chairman and ceo of Rich’s-Lazarus-Goldsmith, also disclosed that the company has created two strategic business units: the Brylane Apparel Group and the Brylane Home Lifestyle Group.
It’s a strategy geared to attempt building the home business, perceived by management as underdeveloped relative to the apparel business. Sheila Garelik, he disclosed, will become president of the apparel group. Currently, she runs the Lane Bryant, Roaman’s and King Size catalogs.
He added that the firm will soon have an e-commerce team to support the development of the firm’s Internet activities.
Stravitz has spent the last two years in the e-commerce industry as a consultant to Cox Interactive Media and with Nexchange, which provides e-commerce solutions for retail.
Brylane mails 600 million catalogs annually under the brands Lane Bryant Direct, Roaman’s, Lerner Direct, King Size, Brylane Home, La Redoute USA, Chadwick’s of Boston, Real Comfort, Jessica London and Sears Shop at Home.