Saks Fifth Avenue

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) announced Thursday it's making a public push against Saks Fifth Avenue after the retailer argued in court that transgender employees are not covered from discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. HRC is suspending Saks' largely positive score from its Corporate Equality Index, a ranking of companies' LGBT-related policies. The move comes less than two weeks after Saks & Co. told a court that a discrimination lawsuit filed by a transgender former employee should be dismissed because "transsexuals are not a protected class under Title VII" of the historic civil rights law.

Hudson's Bay, the owner of the Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue department stores, has named Jerry Storch, the former top executive at Toys"R"Us, to serve as its new chief executive. The department store operator said Storch will take the reins beginning Jan. 6, succeeding Richard Baker, who will stay on as executive chairman.

Three retailers have been named "geniuses," and it may not be who you expected (well, at least one of the companies). L2, a business benchmarking service, awarded Nordstrom, Macy's and Sears "genius status," the highest honor of a five-tiered ranking system in its recent Digital IQ Index: Department Stores. Macy's and Nordstrom have been ranked highly in the past, however, I have to admit, I was surprised to see ailing retailer Sears join them at the top of the list. Over the last few months, we've heard reports of Sears closing multiple storefronts as well as management issues. Just this past week it was reported that the company probably won't last past the 2016 fiscal year. So how did Sears earn the title of "genius"?

Saks Fifth Avenue, the nearly 90-year-old department store that's in the thick of a rebranding effort, is looking to content to help polish its image and, in the long run, boost sales. This fall, the company's men's and women's catalogs will adopt the look and feel of a fashion magazine with features meant to highlight trends and demystify new styles and cover lines promising "186 Revelations from the Fall Runway" and "Tales from the Dark Side."

They'll tap technology to get up close and personal with individual shoppers, mine "big data" for meaningful consumer insight, and invest heavily in fashion makeovers to breath new life into their stores. So said the CEOs of Macy's, J.C. Penney, Bloomingdale's, Ethan Allen, as well as Saks Fifth Avenue's new president a week into the job. After a long Monday at the National Retail Federation's Big Show in New York City, I stole a few moments with the executives during a party held by investment firm Financo at the Harmonie Club.

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