WESTBURY, N.Y.–As speculated by HFN last week, Charlie Chinni will end his year-long retirement to take the helm as chairman and chief executive officer of Fortunoff.
The retail veteran, who retired last year as executive vice president of home and jewelry for J.C. Penney, was upbeat on the challenge.
“I began my job today working with NRDC, parent of Lord & Taylor department stores” and now Fortunoff, Chinni said. “Were very excited about the synergies [the two chains] present.”
He noted an opportunity to “roll out home stores, perhaps into Lord & Taylor,” as well as jewelry stores, “and grow other businesses. In this world today, that’s a very special opportunity.
“I look forward to being back involved and certainly living in New York,” he added.
Chinni began his career as a housewares buyer at Macy’s Bamberger’s department stores in 1966.
His stint at Macy’s lasted 29 years, where he held positions such as general merchandise manager of home, president of merchandising for Macy’s East and executive vice president of product development for Macy’s Corporate.
Subsequent posts included executive vice president of product merchandising for Kmart; chairman and CEO of Strouds, the defunct textiles retailer; and executive vice president of home at J.C. Penney, where he led one of the biggest home revivals of the decade.
Chinni built up a total home business at the chain; expanded the J.C. Penney Home Collection to be one of the nation’s biggest private-label programs, in part by forging Penney’s exclusive partnership with designer Chris Madden; and fleshed out the then-undeveloped hard-home business.