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  • INDUSTRY NEWS

    • On May 23, 2016, it was reported, Kem Lester, owner of Amarillo, Texas-based home accessories and textiles store Kem's Bed & Bath, died Thursday, May 19 at age 72. Lester was born June 7, 1943, in Amarillo. She married her high school sweetheart, Thomas Lester, in 1964 in White Deer, Texas, and in 1979 they relocated to Amarillo to open their first business. Lester began her career in education, but opening the store was "the realization of a lifelong dream" for her, according to the Kem's Bed & Bath website. "Kem's Bed and Bath became more than just a store; it became a family member and a staple in the Amarillo community," according to an obituary in the Amarillo Globe-News. "Her passion was to help others make their homes beautiful." Lester was preceded in death by her husband, and she is survived by their two sons, Kipp and Kurt.
    • On May 23, 2016, it was reported, L Brands subsidiary Victoria's Secret has named a veteran of the specialty and intimate apparel verticals as its new CEO. Jan Singer, who served as CEO of Spanx from June 2014 March 2016, is now CEO of Victoria's Secret. Previously, she held corporate VP positions at Nike from February 2004 June 2014. Singer replaces Sharen Jester Turney, a 16-year veteran of Victoria's Secret who served as CEO from 2006 until her sudden departure in February 2016. Turney said she wanted to prioritize her family and consider her next professional moves. Under Turney, who the company said would remain as an advisor, sales at Victoria's Secret rose 70% to $7.7 billion. Leslie Wexner, chairman and CEO of L Brands, had been filling in for Turney. In conjunction with Singer's hire, Victoria's Secret also appointed Greg Unis, executive VP of men's licensing and merchandising at Coach Inc., as CEO of its beauty division. Victoria's Secret cut 200 jobs in an April 2016 restructuring.
    • On May 16, 2016, it was reported, Behr's Superstore, a baby and youth specialty retailer that has been in business since 1906, is trying to sell off remaining inventory at its 30,000-square-foot, single-store operation here according to an announcement on its website. On its site, www.behrsfurniture.com , the company said this is the last weekend at this location and that it is trying to sell off its remaining product in a sale that ends Sunday. The store is in Seaford, which is in Nassau County, Long Island and just west of Amityville. A posting on the store's Facebook page called the sale a Warehouse Clearance Event that would offer savings of 50% to 75% off warehouse and in-stock items. It was unclear whether the 110-year-old-business will reopen in another location. Attempts to reach store ownership were unsuccessful, although industry sources have indicated the company is trying to reorganize its business.
    • On May 16, 2016, it was reported, Al Wiygul has announced that he will retire as chief executive officer of Mississippi-based American Furniture Manufacturing on June 30, 2016. In a statement to Furniture/Today, Wiygul said that he will remain in a consulting role "as long as necessary to make sure of a smooth transition." He joined American Furniture Mfg. in 2012. Randy Spak, the senior vice president of sales, merchandising and marketing, will become president. Spak will maintain his current responsibilities in addition to assuming the new role.