Mickey Drexler Leaving J.Crew
J.Crew chief executive and chairman Mickey Drexler is leaving his position as CEO after 14 years in the role. Drexler will be succeeded by West Elm CEO Jim Brett, the company announced Monday. Drexler will remain chairman of J.Crew. Last year, the retailer's total sales fell 6 percent, and same-store sales dropped 8 percent after decreasing 10 percent the year before. J.Crew has more than $2 billion in debt and less than $150 million in cash. The apparel retailer also recently parted ways with its longtime creative director, Jenna Lyons.
Total Retail's Take: Perhaps this news shouldn't come as a surprise, considering J.Crew's well-documented struggles the last couple of years, but seeing a retail icon like Drexler step down is going to create headlines. Drexler was forthcoming with the fact that he and the company have made a number of mistakes recently, including increasing prices at a time when consumers were increasingly cost-conscious, particularly with the growing influence of cheaper fast-fashion brands. "We became a little too elitist in our attitude," Drexler told The Wall Street Journal. Drexler also cited numerous fashion misses as part of the reason for J.Crew's decline. Brett will be tasked with turning the brand around, reconnecting with consumers through lower prices and being "more approachable."