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SAN FRANCISCO -- One retailer's loss is another retailer's gain.

Apparel chain

Liz Claiborne

( LIZ) named Isaac Mizrahi as the new creative director of its namesake brand, stealing away the prized designer from discount chain


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Mizrahi's first collection for Liz Claiborne will show up in the spring of 2009, and his collection for Target will disappear at the end of the year.

"We are thrilled to welcome Isaac to our team and believe that his innovative design sense and widespread appeal will breathe new life into the Liz Claiborne brand," said William McComb, chief executive of Liz Claiborne. "It is certainly no secret that the brand has been lacking a clear and cohesive vision and has languished as a result. With this appointment, we are taking a major step towards our goal of creating irresistible product that will provide today's discerning woman with a compelling reason to buy."

Liz Claiborne could certainly use Mizrahi's magic touch, especially given the recent slump across the entire women's apparel sector. Retailers like



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have all reported slowing sales as they grapple with a merchandise mix that has so far failed to resonate with customers.

At Target, Mizrahi brought his high-end designs and sold them at a low price, giving the discount chain some added cachet. Target now carries several big fashion names, including Michael Graves and Mossimo.

However, the company has also been reporting slowing sales lately, hampered by a softening economy that has curbed consumer spending.

Shares of Liz Claiborne were down 0.3%, or 5 cents, to $16.35. Shares of Target were down 0.4%, or 19 cents, to $49.68.