Sunday, 22 July, 2018

J.Crew names James Brett as CEO, Drexler to continue as chairman

Orlando Vargas | 06 June, 2017, 06:58

The move is the most dramatic step yet in a bid to revive J. Crew's fortunes. He will continue in his role as chairman. "I have been running companies for 37 years and the announcement today is a major change in my life", he told the paper.

He has also served in various merchandising roles at other retailers including Anthropologie, the J.C. Penney Company, Inc. and May Department Stores Company.

But over the last few years, J.Crew has become the latest victim of an unforgiving retail environment.

Brett, who has more than 25 years of retail experience, most recently served as President of specialty home furnishing company West Elm, a unit of Williams-Sonoma Inc. Upon arrival, he spotted a lanky designer named Jenna Lyons; and over the next decade, the two transformed J.Crew from an outdated, preppy player into a profitable, cult fashion brand. "Jim has a proven track record of pushing for innovation and growing omni-channel brands". "I look forward to moving into my new role, and assisting Jim and the team in every way possible to help ensure a smooth and successful transition".

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In the WSJ interview, Drexler noted that the retailer's biggest mistake in recent years was increasing prices at a time when customers were becoming more price-conscious.

James Brett, West Elm's president, will become chief executive at J. Crew next month, according to a statement Monday.

Drexler come to J. Crew after turning around Gap in the 1990s. J. Crew has also received criticism for pricing its stylish items too high, especially in a market where fast fashion comes cheap. Young millennial consumers often prefer the deals and eclectic offerings proffered by e-tailers and brands like H&M and Zara as opposed to the more focused offerings championed by Drexler during both his time at Gap and J. Crew.

J.Crew is owned by private equity firms TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners.

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