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Dive Brief:

  • Adding another C-suite executive to its ranks, Belk hired MaryAnne Morin to become its new president and chief merchandising officer, the retailer announced Tuesday.
  • Upon starting her new position on Wednesday, Morin will manage the company’s merchandising, planning and private brand teams, according to the press release.
  • Prior to joining Belk, Morin was previously the president of Stein Mart and the Republic Clothing Group. She also worked at Hudson Bay Company, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s and Echo Design Group.

Dive Insight:

Morin joins Belk as the retailer is sorting out its leadership. In 2021, the company announced that its previous president and chief merchandising officer, Nir Patel, had become its new CEO following the departure of its former chief executive Lisa Harper. Belk also promoted Don Hendricks from COO to president, and Chris Kolbe joined the company from Kohl’s to become its new chief merchant.

But the changes didn’t stop there. This September, the retailer announced that Hendricks would ascend Belk’s chief executive role. He had served as the interim CEO since May and had been the company COO since 2016. Patel departed the CEO role to join GameStop as its new COO.

However, Patel’s departure to GameStop catalyzed a court battle. The department store sued Patel and GameStop, alleging poaching. The company also accused Tim May, previously a senior supply chain executive at Belk, of taking confidential information from the retailer.

Morin steps into the chief merchandiser role as the company faces a decline in foot traffic in comparison to last year, which was fueled by stimulus payments and store reopenings. Between June and September, Belk saw its in-store foot traffic shrink in comparison to last year, according to a Placer.ai analysis. It saw the highest drop in brick-and-mortar foot traffic in June (-11.7%), but the year-over-year gap began to close in July (-9.8%), August (-7.2%) and September (-3.4%). 

“We are always striving to provide our customers with the best shopping experiences, which include offering quality products they want at prices they can afford,” Hendricks said in a statement. “MaryAnne’s wealth of knowledge will help us make that experience even better, whether customers are shopping in our stores, on Belk.com or our mobile app.”

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