NEW TO AMEREX: The Amerex Group said Renee McGovern has joined the company as president of its women’s and men’s group, replacing Kevin Mahoney, who has left the outerwear maker. She reports to chief executive Glenn Palmer. Most recently, McGovern was president of Liz Claiborne’s special markets Village and Axcess brands. Adam Berkman has taken the post of chief financial officer, succeeding Bob Almerini, who also left. Berkman previously worked at Accruent Inc., a contract management software company he cofounded.

This story first appeared in the November 21, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

ANN’S IMPROVED ATTITUDE: Moody’s Investors Service lifted the outlook for Ann Taylor Stores Corp. to “positive” from “stable” and affirmed the existing ratings on about $199 million of the specialty retailer’s debt. The revision “reflects Ann Taylor’s improved operating performance, which has resulted in the company becoming a net generator of cash and in a consequent buildup of balance sheet cash,” Moody’s said, adding that “operations have improved over the past year with the successful repositioning of Loft, Ann Taylor’s growth concept.”

NEIMAN’S BEARS “RINGS”: New Line Cinema and Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills came together to create the department store’s first film-branded storefront window displays, for “Lord of the Rings,” to be unveiled Monday and remain on view through Dec. 29. Oscar-nominated art director Dan Hennah and art coordinator Chris Hennah created four richly detailed windows depicting the four sites in which trilogy unfolds — Hobbiton, Edoras, Rivendell and Minas Tirith — using props, costumes and set decoration imported from the New Zealand production.

SYRUP DRIES UP: Syrup Clothing Co. is another victim of California’s escalating business costs. The Los Angeles-based young contemporary vendor has liquidated following its Chapter 7 filing three weeks ago. Operating for six years, the line targeted a mid-20s customer and had sales of $3 million at its peak two years ago. The company sized down from 16 employees to 10 this year, but that still wasn’t enough, according to owner and founder David White, who had also planned to move production offshore. “We’ve been underfinanced for a long time — there wasn’t any heavy money behind me,” White said. “I needed a miracle.” White, former president of Z. Cavaricci, said he’s exploring consulting and new business options.

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