Sears Canada appoints new president

Retailer's new chief merchant formerly head of Jones Apparel Group

Sears Canada Inc. has created a new position called president and chief merchant, and has appointed retail industry expert Carrie Kirkman to it.

The role has been created to capitalize on the merchandising experience that Kirkman has, the company says.

With a loss in revenue in the earlier quarters of the year, and drastic cost-cutting measures taken as part of the company’s operations in the last few years, the appointment comes at a time when the troubled retailer is looking to improve sales and restore consumer loyalty.

Having most recently been the interim president of Nine West Canada, Kirkman was the president of Jones Apparel Group before that, and has held senior executive roles at Hudson’s Bay Co. and Liz Claiborne Canada in the past.

According to the brand’s statement released on Tuesday, Kirkman has been hired in hopes she will “bring revitalized discipline and focus to the company’s ability to connect with these consumers and give them an exceptional shopping experience.”

Kirkman will be working alongside Brandon G. Stranzi, who is currently the executive chairman of Sears Canada.

“The decision to bring Carrie to Sears Canada was the result of careful deliberation by both myself and the Board of Directors,” said Stranzi in the official company statement.

The objective behind this decision is to develop a different management structure that “maximizes collaboration” where Stranzi will continue to work on financial operations and balance sheet management, and Kirkman will focus on the merchandising and customer experience.

“We created the President and Chief Merchant role to enable the management team to refine and enhance the customer experience and restore Sears Canada’s core retail business to a position of envy in the Canadian retail landscape, while maintaining a disciplined approach to capital allocation and profitability,” Stranzi said in the statement.

Sears Canada Inc. sells products and services through multiple channels from in-store purchases to online-ordering and catalogue shopping. It has a network of 166 official stores, 177 Hometown stores, 84 travel offices and over 1,200 merchandise pick-up locations.