After 26 years with J.Crew, Jenna Lyons is exiting the company. Lyons was most recently the brand’s creative director — and a cultural icon in her own right. Her statement eyewear, oversized suiting and sequin pieces have been copied by fashion-savvy consumers all over the world. Current J.Crew Women’s Head of Design Somsack Sikhounmuong will be promoted to chief design officer, overseeing the women’s, men’s and children's design teams effective immediately. Lyons will stay on as a creative advisor until the end of her current contract, which expires in December 2017.
Total Retail’s Take: J.Crew is one of many retailers that has experienced slumping sales recently. In its 2016 fiscal year, net sales at J.Crew were $2 billion, down 6 percent from the previous year. Sales at stores open at least one year were down 8 percent. Like many specialty retailers, J.Crew is feeling the effects of today's discount culture, fast-fashion and a consumer shift towards athleisure clothing. Lyons’ exit may be the first in a series of strategic leadership changes to help better position J.Crew for the next era of retail.