NEW YORK — Sears, Roebuck & Co. has named LuAnn Via vice president of intimate apparel, accessories and fragrances. It is a new position, reflecting efforts at Sears to try to make its softer side more relevant to consumers.
Via, formerly senior vice president of product development for Saks Inc., will join Sears on Oct. 21 and report to Leslie Mann, senior vice president and general merchandise manager of footwear, accessories, fine jewelry and intimate apparel.
“She has a strong background in buying, manufacturing and product development and will oversee the strategy, product positioning and merchandising for national brands and private labels,” a Sears spokeswoman said. She added that Via has 20 years of retail experience, and her last six were in senior slots. She also once worked at Rich’s, a division of Federated Department Stores that is adopting the Macy’s name, and at specialty stores.
Other steps by Sears during the past couple of years to pump up apparel include buying the Lands’ End brand and rolling it out to all of its 870 department stores, introducing Covington private label, buying the Structure name, which is expected to become a men’s line at Sears, and naming Mindy Meads executive vice president of softlines. Meads was executive vice president of merchandising and design at Lands’ End. Earlier this month, Sears tapped Carrie Shigetomi for vice president of brand development. Shigetomi was Calvin Klein’s vice president of design administration and product development.