Posts Tagged ‘retail recruiters’


Monday, April 14th, 2014

Plummer & Associates, a New Canaan, Connecticut based executive search firm has just completed  a study that shows that 15% of the CEOs in the fashion industry are women. This compares favorable with the retail industry in which 8% are women and the Fortune 500 in which 4.2% are women. The conclusion is that the odds are better in the fashion industry for women seeking to be a CEO.



Plummer & Associates is a boutique executive search firm that serves the consumer direct industry (retail, retail services, ecommerce, mcommerce, fashion, apparel, catalog, direct sales, food service, restaurant, and hospitality segments). The firm also works with venture capital and private equity funds on their consumer direct portfolio companies. Plummer & Associates is based in New Canaan, Connecticut and serves clients in North America and globally. We recruit senior level executives to become respected team members/leaders and who prove themselves over the short-term as well as the longer-term. Plummer & Associates is well-known as it provides over 7,500 senior executives with important industry reports throughout the year.

For more information, we recommend you visit our website: and our blog:

John Plummer

Plummer & Associates, Inc.

PO Box 607

New  Canaan,  Connecticut 0607




Monday, April 14th, 2014

Click below to view this report:

Retail Comp Sales History-march2014

This is the retail comp sales report for March, 2014 produced by Michael Luce at Tri Channel Strategies. We are pleased to provide this most comprehensive report to you.

As you will see, specialty retail continued to be difficult. The mass retail and food & drug sectors did much better.

John Plummer

Plummer & Associates



Wednesday, March 12th, 2014


Plummer & Associates recruited Michael Molinar as Vice President – Controller for Orchard Supply Hardware, a division of Lowes Companies. Orchard Supply Hardware is a home center chain with over 70 stores located in California and Oregon and headquartered in San Jose, California.


Michael Molinar most recently was the Corporate Controller for Hastings Entertainment based in Amarillo, Texas. Previously, he had held financial and store operations positions with Safeway, Inc. He is a CPA and holds a M.S. degree in Finance and a B.S. degree in Accounting. His combination of financial and store operations experience made him an ideal candidate for this retailer with aggressive growth plans.


Plummer & Associates is a highly respected boutique executive search firm specializing in the consumer direct industry serving retail, ecommerce, mcommerce, fashion, catalog, direct sales, food service, hospitality,  plus  venture capital and private equity investors. Plummer & Associates is based in New Canaan, Connecticut.





Monday, March 3rd, 2014

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For your downloadable copy:





Plummer & Associates Recruits President for Viva International Based in Somerville, New Jersey

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Plummer & Associates has completed the assignment to recruit the President for Viva International. Mr. Antonia Bortuzzo has accepted the role and will lead this Somerville, New Jersey eyewear manufacturer and distributor. Viva International Group is a global leader in high-quality, fashion eyewear. Its portfolio ranges from accessible luxury brands GANT by Michael Bastian and GUESS by Marciano, to fashion and lifestyle brands BONGO®, CANDIE’S®, Catherine Deneuve, GANT, GANT Rugger, GUESS, Harley-Davidson®, RAMPAGE®, SKECHERS and William Rast, and value names Viva, Magic Clip®, and Savvy.


Most recently, Antonio Bortuzzo was chief executive officer (CEO) of Alain Mikli International Group in Paris. Mikli designs, manufactures and distributes ophthalmic frames and

sunwear, and has retail stores worldwide. Previously, he was the CEO of fashion optical eyewear wholesaler Allison S.p.A. in Padova, Italy, and, from 2002-2007 he was the CEO and general manager of Marcolin Group, Belluno as well as CEO of Marcolin, U.S. in Scottsdale, Ariz.


Susan Gill and I are pleased we were once again able to bring such high caliber talent to Viva International and similar high growth organizations. Over the past few months we have recruited the General Manager – International for Viva International based in the U.K., the General Manager – Canada, and the Senior Vice President – Sales for Viva in the U.S. This demonstrates our abilities to conduct international search assignments for our clients.


Wednesday, April 24th, 2013


The pundits are having a good time poking fun at Ron Johnson’s expense. Yes, he made big mistakes. However, he was not the real problem.

Penney’s has been declining for years. The real blame belongs to the Board and the prior management. Over the years, J C Penney focused on the same customer and followed those customers as they grew older; management failed to attract younger customer.  Everyone in retail knows the younger customers are the profitable customers. Only during the brief tenure of Allen Questrom and Vanessa Castagna did J C Penney do the right things.

I always believed the probability of success in Ron’s strategy to take JCP upscale and simultaneously attract a younger customer was unlikely. As retailers switch from one customer base to another, the retailer usually first finds the bottom of the Grand Canyon. That is where JCP is today. The old customers do not like what they see and the new customers do not like shopping with the old customers. In my mind, investors cannot afford to take the time required to successfully support a retail turnaround.

I have seen several retailers attempt to make customer base changes. Some that come to mind are:

  1.       Abraham & Straus Department Stores – Brooklyn, New York
  2.       Sears – The Softer Side
  3.       Kmart- The New Kmart
  4.       Mervyn’s – Mervyn’s California

All were colossal failures. On the other hand, Target did successfully make a  change but it was done gradually and over several years. The customer base change was also less significant.

The essence of this story is that the Board and management need to keep their eyes focused on the long-term health of the company versus short-term quarterly tactics. The truth is that a merchant prince can seldom pull off a successful major change in customer base.


Monday, December 5th, 2011


Plummer & Associates recruited Mr. Giovanni Pesce as SVP-International Sales for Viva Optique, a division of HVHC. Mr. Pesce brings extensive international experience in the eyewear industry. He will be based in Italy and his role will be to develop business in Europe, the Middle East, India, and in the Far East. He joined the company in December, 2011.


Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Holiday Card 1904. Front Entrance


Abraham & Straus – Arial View – 1906

Founded in 1865 by Abraham Abraham and Joseph Wechsler in Brooklyn, New York, the company initially opened as Wechsler & Abraham on Fulton Street near Tillary. At this time, Brooklyn was a thriving community of its own; the Brooklyn Bridge had not yet been built. In the early 1880’s, the company bought and renovated an ornate cast iron building on Fulton between Hoyt Street and Gallatin Place. With continual expansion, the store eventually occupied the entire block. The building was equally ornate inside as depicted in some of the postcards shown below. A five-story courtyard with a skylight allowed daylight to show off the merchandise.  Abraham & Straus became the retail showplace in New York. The last major renovation was between 1928 and 1930 when the architects Starrett & Van Vleck designed the new building facing Fulton Street in Art Deco style. This store still stands today but is now a Macy’s.

In 1893, the Straus family along with Simon Rothschild bought out the Wechsler interest in the company and the store was renamed Abraham & Straus. The Straus family also had controlling interest in R.H. Macy & Company in New York. The two retailers were not combined but did maintain a common buying office in Europe. During the 1910s, the Straus family separated their interest in the two stores, with Abraham & Straus going to one branch of the family, and Macy’s to the other. In April, 1912, Isidor and Ida Straus went down with the Titanic.

In 1929, Abraham & Straus, Bloomingdale’s, Filene’s and Lazarus (along with its subsidiary, Shillito’s) merged to form Federated Department Stores. At this time, Federated was located in Columbus, Ohio but later moved to Cincinnati. The merger gave each division the strength to weather economic storms and also created buying clout in the U.S. and Europe.

Family members ran Abraham & Straus until 1955. Walter Rothschild was President and Chairman until 1955, and was succeeded by Sidney Solomon, the first non-family member to lead the company.

In 1950, the company purchased the Loeser’s store in Garden City and converted it to Abraham & Straus. In 1952, the company built its first suburban store in Hempstead. That store was expanded over the years until it exceeded 400,000 square feet. The company continued expansion with stores in Manhasset, Smithtown, Babylon (later replaced), Monmouth (NJ), Paramus (NJ), White Plains (NY), Short Hills (NJ), King of Prussia (PA), Willow Grove (PA), and Manhattan.

Under the leadership of Walter Rothschild and Sidney Solomon, Abraham & Straus was the powerhouse of Federated Department Stores. The division contributed more earnings per share than any other division. For years it was known as the training ground for merchants for the retail industry. Many of the top retail CEO’s came from the A& S training program.

Unfortunately, Abraham & Straus also became the funding source for Federated Department Store’s divisions in the Sunbelt (Bullock’s, Burdines, Sanger-Harris, and Rich’s). Eventually the Brooklyn market declined as did Hempstead and Babylon. The new management team relied on a strategy of opening new stores to grow their way out of the problems created by the declining markets. New stores were built in White Plains and Short Hills, but neither was an immediate success. Then, A&S made the disastrous decision to open stores in the Philadelphia market (Willow Grove and King of Prussia). These stores worsened the situation. As a final fiasco, the division opened a new store near Herald Square in NYC, a store that never could be profitable. On top of all this, a new centralized distribution center was opened, intended to reduce expenses and to increase the selling space in each store. Through management bungling, this operation became a major problem as shortage increased dramatically chain wide. In addition, costs were far above projections and merchandise got stalled in the pipeline.

Outside Porte Cochere. 1909

The Court, Silver Department, 1904

What happened???

Atop all the management mistakes in the late 1970’s and 1980’s, the final blow came when Campeau, the real estate developer, bought Federated Department Stores and combined it with Allied Stores. This led to the combination of A&S with Jordan Marsh (Boston), operating out of the Brooklyn headquarters. In 1994, Federated Department Stores purchased bankrupt R.H. Macy & Co and in 1995, combined A&S with the Macy’s New York division, converting stores to the Macy’s brand or other divisions of Federated.

I first saw Abraham & Straus in the late 1960’s when it was a powerhouse. I was working at Bullock’s in Los Angeles and was asked to visit with A&S to gather information on some of their personnel policies and procedures. I was impressed. The customer traffic was unbelievable. The fashion displays were incredible as the volume justified the costs. I joined A&S in 1976 and it was then on a fast downhill slide. Management’s response was to take the business upscale. This new direction worked in Manhasset, Smithtown, Paramus and the smaller Garden City store but in the other stores the new direction was a disaster. In Brooklyn, for example, we added a Pappagallo shop and put $12 million into an upscale renovation of the Brooklyn store when in fact all that sold in front of the store were Jellies and incense on cardboard boxes. The employees lost confidence in management as customers objected to the new higher priced merchandise. Unions started organizing attempts because of separation of the associates from management. One day over 6,000 people demonstrated in support of the unions in front of the Brooklyn store. The store also became a magnet for criminals. Organized gangs came into the store to steal merchandise. One Christmas Eve a gang came into the jewelry department during business hours, broke all the cases and stole the majority of the merchandise.

A&S Rotunda .. 1904

Picture Gallery. 1907

The postcard collection primarily shows the store pre-1930 when it was grand. Like all the other cards in the Plummer Collection, I ask that you do not reproduce or copy any of these postcards without gaining my written permission.

Grocery Department. 1904

Grocery Department in 1907

I trust that you will feel comfortable to leave your comments about your history with A&S, either as a customer or as an employee. We need to preserve this important part of retail history.

Straus Family Summer Home. View 1 . 1907

Straus Family Summer Home . View 2. 1907

Anniversary Day Parade . Prospect Park. 1907 . Pub by A&S

Lawn Tennis Prospect Park . 1905 . pub A&S


Thursday, May 12th, 2011



HOUSTON –(BUSINESS WIRE)– Charming Charlie announced today that it has appointed Keith Cline as Chief Financial Officer effective February 28, 2011.

Mr. Cline comes to Charming Charlie from Express, Inc. (NYSE: EXPR), where he most recently served as Senior Vice President, Finance. During his five year tenure, Mr. Cline played a key role in both the 2007 privatization of Express and the subsequent initial public offering in 2010. Prior to that, Mr. Cline served as Director, Corporate Finance at Limited Brands, Inc. [NYSE: LTD] from 2003 to 2006. Mr. Cline’s career also includes financial leadership roles with FedEx Custom Critical, The J. M. Smucker Company, and Mettler-Toledo International, Inc. Mr. Cline began his career in public accounting with Arthur Andersen & Company and is a graduate of The University of Akron with a B.S. in Accounting as well as a M.B.A. in Finance.

“We are very pleased to welcome Keith to our team,” said Charlie Chanaratsopon, Chief Executive Officer of Charming Charlie. “Keith’s extensive background in finance combined with his retail experience and leadership capabilities will be invaluable as we continue to aggressively expand our national footprint. He is exceptionally well qualified to serve as our new Chief Financial Officer and I look forward to working closely with him to take this Company to the next level.”


Thursday, May 12th, 2011

True Religion Apparel, Inc. Names Jordan Daly as Vice President of Brand Strategy, Public Relations and Marketing
VERNON, Calif., May 12, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) –True Religion Apparel, Inc. (Nasdaq: TRLG) today announced that the Company has named Jordan Daly as Vice President of Brand Strategy, Marketing and Public Relations effective May 1, 2011. Ms. Daly will be responsible for developing the direction for, and managing all aspects of brand management, marketing, public relations and special projects on a global basis. She will drive a strategic multi-platform communication plan, oversee brand identity and positioning, campaigns, public relations, special events, product launches and internal communications to further build the Company’s market leadership position and maximize profitability. Mr. Jeffrey Lubell, the Company’s Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Merchant will be directly involved in overseeing Ms. Daly’s initiatives.Ms. Daly was most recently Vice President Public Relations Americas for Burberry Group, PLC. Prior to that, she served as Managing Director with HL Group, LLC specifically overseeing strategic marketing and communication platforms for consumer, fashion and lifestyle clients. Ms. Daly’s additional professional experience includes serving as Public Relations Director with kate spade and she worked in account management and advertisement roles with Factory Communications. Ms. Daly began her career at Harrison & Shriftman and has a B.S., Fashion Merchandising and Marketing from the University of Alabama.Jeffrey Lubell, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Merchant of True Religion Apparel, Inc. stated, “Jordan brings a wealth of knowledge in all facets of brand development that will help further increase our overall brand awareness and affinity. As we continue to expand and further evolve our global presence, Jordan will be instrumental in guiding our efforts to reach our target customer while enhancing our reputation as one of the world’s premier denim and lifestyle brands.”