On Monday, the J. Crew company announced that CEO Millard Drexler is going to step down from his position. Drexler is a legendary merchant who had the brilliant ideas which reinvented the brand. Unfortunately, he was not able to also stop it from declining. James Brett, president of the home furnishing brand West Elm, is going to succeed him at the helm of the company. Drexler, also known as Mickey, will still be the chairman of the company and will keep his ownership stake. Brett will start in July as the new CEO of J. Crew.
The end of an era
It’s worth noting that this is actually the second big executive change at J. Crew. Back in April, Jenna Lyons, its longtime executive creative director, also resigned. According to a company spokeswoman, the decision to step down completely belonged to Drexler. In an official statement, the 72-year old businessman said that as the chairman and owner of J. Crew, he has the responsibility to find the perfect leadership. The company needs to go forward and it needs a new and innovative mind to guide it. According to Drexler, James Brett is the right man for this job.
It’s worth noting that things have not been going great at J. Crew lately. In the last 11 out of 12 quarters, same-store sales have declined. Also, last year, the company gave up on its bridal business. In March, J. Crew said that revenue declined with 2%, to $695 million. Moreover, in April, it also announced its plans to eliminate about 150 full-time positions. This is a really difficult time for big brands who are struggling to adapt to the changing preferences of consumers.
Not the best time for the retailing industry
This year, many important retailers have filed for bankruptcy. Among them are ShoeSource, The Limited, BCBG Max Azria and Wet Seal. Moreover, analysts are saying that this is just the beginning. Speculation said that even J. Crew might take this path, after its recent decline. Drexler took the helm of the company back in 2003. He has always been a special and prominent person. Many people called him the Merchant Prince who used to ride his bicycle around the office. Now, it seems like it’s the end of an era.
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