News & Scoops

2012 November 28

Lord & Taylor's Private Label Appoints Marie Holman-Rao

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(NEW YORK) Marie Holman-Rao has been named chief creative officer of Lord & Taylor’s in-house label as a part of parent company Hudson's Bay Co.'s efforts to expand the label into a major lifestyle brand. Holman-Rao's duties will include overseeing design, development, and marketing for the department store’s eponymous brand.  

Holman-Rao held a role similar to her new title at Lord & Taylor, as chief design officer at New York & Co. from 2007 to 2010; since that stint, she has consulted for retail and private equity firms. Also on her high-powered resume: positions at Ann Taylor, Perry Ellis, and Macy's. From 1993 and 1999, Holman-Rao was the president of Banana Republic, followed by her role as president at Limited Design Services until 2006.

Currently HBC's private brand business—a roster of 30 in-house labels—represents only nine  percent of sales volume. Lord & Taylor's overhaul will boost the department store’s private label market to 15 percent, in keeping with more robust private line business at retail peers like Macy’s and J.C. Penney. Over the next year all 30 private labels under HBC will be eliminated with the exception of Black Brown 1826 men's wear, Gluckstein home, HBC signature products, and exclusive Olympic products. 

Lord & Taylor’s private label will grow, under Holman-Rao’s leadership, to include sportswear, footwear, and accessories, followed by forays in jewelry, intimate apparel, and outerwear. The company will expand its nine-person design team in the process. Lord & Taylor will continue to sell merchandise at both department store chains and other retailers.

In her new capacity, Holman-Rao will report directly to Mary Turner, executive vice president, specialty, for HBC, parent company of The Bay in Canada and Lord & Taylor in the U.S. In other recent hires, Jonathan Greller has rejoined HBC this month as senior vice president of private brand apparel and wholesale. Greller will serve as merchant for men's and women's private brands at Lord & Taylor and The Bay. 

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