January 3, 2012, 12:14 PM

Sears names a top merchandising executive

Ron Boire joins as the company closes stores and spins off Orchard Supply Hardware.

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Sears Holding Corp. is beginning 2012 with a new top merchandising executive after ending the previous year with the spin-off of its Orchard Supply Hardware Stores brand.

Sears, No. 7 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, has selected Ron Boire to be the next executive vice president, chief merchandising officer and president of Sears and Kmart.

Prior to joining Sears, Boire worked as CEO of Brookstone Inc. (No. 189), a retailer of e household and personal products or gadgets. At Sears, Boire will be in charge of merchandising for both the Sears and Kmart brand, the company says. A top priority will be working to make merchandising more consistent across channels, including e-commerce and mobile commerce. “He will work with our leadership team to better serve our customers and ‘Shop Your Way’ rewards members by integrating their experiences across our stores, online, services and mobile capabilities,” says CEO Lou D'Ambrosio.

Boire has a long history as an executive for big retailers. In addition to running Brookstone, Boire also previously worked as president of North America for Toys ‘R’ Us Inc. (No. 29), as the executive vice president, global merchandise manager for Best Buy Co. (No. 11) and of head of Sony Corp.’s (No. 14) consumer sales company.

Boire joins Sears at a time when the company is looking to shore up its financial position and focus on its core brand. On Dec. 31 Sears completed its spinoff of Orchard Supply Hardware Stores into a separate public company. With annual sales of about $660.7 million, Orchard Supply Hardware Stores, which operates a chain of 89 hardware stores in California that Sears acquired in 1996, introduced e-commerce in the fall of 2010.

At the same time Sears is adding a top merchandising manager, the company on Dec. 27 announced plans to close 120 underperforming stores. Sears, which says fourth quarter comparable-store sales as of Dec. 25 had declined 5.2%, will report its year-end financials around Feb. 23.

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