Federated Department Stores, Inc announced yesterday that David L. Nichols, former chairman and chief executive officer of Mercantile Stores, will become president and chief operating officer of Federated's Atlanta-based Rich's/Lazarus/Goldsmith's (RLG) division, effective immediately.

Nichols, 58, succeeds Edwin J. Holman, who in June was named president and chief operating officer of Bloomingdale's. In his new post, Nichols joins Arnold Orlick, chairman and chief executive officer of RLG, responsible for the operations of 74 stores in nine South-eastern and Mid-western states, with 1999 annual sales of more than $2.1bn.

"After knowing and respecting Dave Nichols as a tough, focused competitor for many years, I can tell you that we now are absolutely delighted to have him on the Federated team," said James M. Zimmerman, Federated's chairman and chief executive officer. "Dave brings with him a wealth of retail experience, proven leadership ability and a unique familiarity with the important RLG market, all of which will be of tremendous benefit to the division and to Federated."

RLG Chairman/CEO Orlick echoed Zimmerman's comments: "Dave Nichols will be an invaluable asset to the RLG organization and I am extremely pleased to have him join our management team. His experience in finance and store operations will enable him to hit the ground running, which is what I know he is anxious to do."

Nichols became chairman/CEO of Mercantile in 1992 and held the position until 1998, when the company was acquired by Dillard's, Inc. He subsequently served a brief term as chairman, president and chief executive officer of floor-covering retailer Flooring America, Inc, joining that firm earlier this year and resigning in July.

Nichols began his retail career with Mercantile in 1963 as an executive trainee. He progressed through positions including store manager from 1976-78, general merchandise manager from 1978-82 and group president of the Lion's store division in Toledo, before being named chief financial officer and treasurer of Mercantile in 1989.

About Federated
Federated, with corporate offices in Cincinnati and New York, is one of the nation's leading department store retailers, with annual sales of more than $17.7bn. Federated currently operates more than 400 department stores in 33 states under the names of Bloomingdale's, The Bon Marche, Burdines, Goldsmith's, Lazarus, Macy's, Rich's and Stern's. Federated also operates the Fingerhut, Bloomingdale's By Mail, Macy's By Mail, macys.com and bloomingdales.com direct-to-consumer catalog and electronic commerce subsidiaries.