Alberto-Culver Exec Is New Sears CMO

Sears, Roebuck and Co. has tapped Richard Gerstein, the global chief marketing officer for Alberto-Culver, as its new chief marketing officer. Gerstein is expected to start early in August, the company says, reporting to Maureen McGuire, Sears Holdings' chief marketing officer. He replaces Joan Chow, who left the post in January.

Observers say Gerstein will have his work cut out for him. Sears Holdings continues to be a relative darling of Wall Street, thanks to investor confidence in CEO Edward S. Lampert, the hedge-fund genius turned retailing guru. But the reality is that Sears continues to struggle, unable to woo back former customers or attract new ones.

The company recently announced that, nine weeks into its second quarter, same-store sales at Sears stores in the U.S. had already fallen 4%, causing it to lower earnings estimates.

Sears launched an extensive new marketing campaign back in May, and Gerstein will "help Sears reconnect with its loyal customers and attract former customers back to Sears," the company says.

Gerstein has also held marketing positions at Procter & Gamble.