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Williams-Sonoma names new president

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Williams-Sonoma has appointed Janet Hayes, currently the president of Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen, as president, effective March 20. She replaces Richard Harvey, who will be leaving the company on May 3, 2013, after 30 years of service.

Laura Alber, the company’s president and CEO, said, “On behalf of the board and senior management team, I want to thank Richard for his many contributions to the company. He provided vision for the Williams-Sonoma brand over the past three decades as it grew from a few California stores to the iconic, multi-channel business that it is today. Over the last few years, Richard increased the percentage of products that are either vendor-branded exclusives or Williams-Sonoma-branded, created innovative new product lines, introduced our Agrarian business, and relaunched Williams-Sonoma Home. He also hired top talent to evolve the brand’s aesthetic and marketing.”

Alber stated, “Janet’s strong vision, retail leadership and operational expertise have driven record revenues and profits in both Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen. Her experience in product development and retail customer engagement is an excellent fit for the Williams-Sonoma brand as it focuses on strategies to increase product exclusivity, introduce new products, deepen customer relationships, and evolve the in-store experience. She will lead a strong and seasoned merchandising and field leadership team.” 

Hayes has served as president of Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen since 2010. From 2008 to 2010, she served as EVP Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen, and from 2007 to 2008, she served as SVP and general merchandise manager Pottery Barn. Prior to 2007, she held roles at American Eagle Outfitters, Nike and Gap.

Sandra Stangl, president of Pottery Barn, will expand her role to include Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen, effective March 20.

Stangl has served as president Pottery Barn, since 2008. From 2006 to 2008, she served as EVP Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen. Between 1994 and 2006, Stangl served in various leadership roles in the Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen brands.

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S&P lifts credit rating on Whirlpool

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services upgraded Whirlpool’s long-term corporate credit rating one notch to "BBB" from "BBB-," the lowest investment-grade rating. S&P cited an improving economy and stronger housing market. 

The ratings agency also pointed to the appliance maker’s growth in emerging markets and lower cost structure.

The company has benefited from better pricing moves, productivity and benefits from cost and factory capacity cuts. The ratings agency also said that Whirlpool has cut costs, trimmed inventory and boosted its profitability in response to tough market conditions in 2011. S&P said these actions helped the company in 2012 and should continue into 2014.

Whirlpool reported 3% earnings growth in 2012, compared with the prior year. Revenue slipped about 3% to $18.14 billion. 

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RILA reflects on the Affordable Care Act

BY Ken Clark

The vice president of government affairs for the Retail Industry Leaders Association reflected on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which became law three years ago this week.

“In the last three years, it has become increasingly apparent that the law is administratively complex and burdensome for well-intentioned retail employers who want to provide employer-sponsored health coverage to their employees and families,” wrote Christine Pollack, VP of government affairs for RILA. 

Her comments appear on the RILA website, under the headline: “RILA Blog Post – Affordable Care Act: Three years later and questions, concerns still remain.”

The article concludes: “RILA is committed to ensuring the employer-sponsored health system remains a viable coverage option for decades to come. While the proposed rules included limited transition relief for certain employers, more must be done. As we countdown the months, weeks and days before the law goes into effect, RILA will continue to advocate to the White House, regulators in the federal departments and agencies, and lawmakers on Capitol Hill that all employers must be provided with transition relief under the health law.”

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