Jim Gilbert has been creating direct marketing programs that drive superior ROI for almost 30 years. Fluent in consumer or B-to-B, creative, operations, and analytics, he marries the strategic and tactical sides of direct and social media marketing in a seamless fashion that gets results. He's CEO of a multidiscipline direct marketing agency, Gilbert Direct Marketing, Inc., which focuses on direct mail, catalogs, DRTV, telemarketing, print, alternative direct marketing media and social media marketing. Jim has been involved in start-ups, expansions and turnarounds, and is an expert in helping multichannel marketers get to the "next level." He's a former adjunct professor, teaching direct marketing at Miami International University, and is President of the Board of Directors of the Florida Direct Marketing Association. Jim loves to talk direct marketing, and has done many lectures on direct and social media marketing.

Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail. Joe has more than 10 years experience covering the retail industry, and enjoys profiling innovative companies and people in the space.

Earlier this month, a dozen or so gun rights activists walked into San Antonio-area outlets of Sonic and Chili's with long rifles strapped across their backs. In both instances, managers of the burger joint and Tex-Mex chain acted quickly, requesting that these members of Second Amendment advocacy group Open Carry Texas leave their premises. After Mother Jones found and posted videos of these two incidents, Sonic and Chili's reacted, although both stopped short of joining Starbucks, Chipotle and Jack In The Box in asking customers to leave guns at home.

Wesley Card, the CEO of Jones Group, is to step down from his role as part of plans by Sycamore Partners to split the newly acquired company into four independent firms. Earlier this month, Jones Group shareholders overwhelmingly voted to approve the acquisition of the U.S. clothing and footwear company by private equity firm Sycamore Partners in a deal worth $2.2 billion. As a result, Sycamore has set out four plans for the businesses within the Jones Group, which it says will operate independently going forward. 

The Jones Group announced it's accepted a buyout offer of $15 per share from private equity firm Sycamore Partners. The deal gives Jones, which owns a collection of midmarket fashion brands, an equity value of $1.2 billion. Sycamore will also take on $1 billion in debt, bringing the deal's enterprise value to $2.2 billion. Jones, which owns brands including Nine West, Anne Klein and Easy Spirit, has struggled in recent quarters as sales slumped, and put itself up for sale this summer after the activist hedge fund Barington Capital Group took a 2 percent stake in the company.

Digital has not only had an effect on companies from a marketing perspective, it's also helping them be more efficient and agile in other areas, like customer service. Take Jones Apparel Group's Nine West, which just introduced an app for its sales associates. The application not only allows Jones to communicate with its Nine West stores to maintain consistent merchandising, but it also lets sales associates show consumers products that aren't readily available in the store and give them a preview of what's to come.

NEW YORK, Dec. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Jones Group Inc. ("Jones," the "Company") (NYSE: JNY) today announced the promotion of Aida Tejero-DeColli to the newly created position of Chief People Officer, effective immediately. In this elevated role,...

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