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So it was considered a great coup when Emilia’s board announced that Augustín had been recruited as the company’s next leader. His mandate was to radically reinvent an enterprise that seemed to have lost its way in the face of challenges from fast fashion, big-box stores, and e-commerce. Emilia, named for the mother of the chain’s founder, had acquired a distinctly matronly air over the decades; it was where frugal...