Stephen Sadove, Ron Frasch
Executive Chairman, CEO; President, Chief Merchandising Officer; Saks Inc.
2008 Rank: 19
After a very challenging 2008, the luxury department store is continuing to shape its offerings. Under Sadove, 57, and Frasch, 61, key footwear initiatives this year included boosting the number of contemporary brands and exclusives, introducing private label and expanding elements of the 10022-SHOE salon concept across the chain. In fact, the company’s Dadeland Mall location in Miami unveiled the designer shoe concept in July. In September, Sadove announced the retailer’s first exclusive collection for men, encompassing apparel, accessories and footwear, for fall ’09. Available in 48 of the 53 full-line Saks stores, as well as online, the assortment is expected to grow in the coming seasons. Still, despite a serious cost-cutting program, the company reported continued losses for the second quarter, with an outlook that included further-reduced inventory levels and expected comp sales declines.
Hal Pennington, Bob Dennis
Chairman; President, CEO, COO; Genesco Inc.
2008 Rank: 22
Focus is the name of the game at Genesco. Pennington, 71, and Dennis, 55, spent the recent months refining the company’s real estate portfolio and tracking expenses amid the tough operating environment. The firm has closed 24 stores across all its banners, though the teen-centric Journeys Group expects to bow 69 stores, to end the year with 816 units, including Journeys Kidz and Shi by Journeys. Troubles, however, continue at Underground Station with further deceleration of sales. But Genesco is making strategic investments. Its Hat World group earlier in the year purchased Impact Sports, and the firm is keeping an eye out for more acquisitions. Though it reported a $2.7 million net loss in the most recent quarter, the results beat the prior-year’s net loss of $10.8 million. Revenues, however, fell 5 percent to $334.7 million, with comps down 8 percent. For the fourth quarter, the firm expects to have low single-digit positive comps, due in part to tighter expense controls and an updated POS system.
Power Player: Jim Estepa, SVP; president, CEO, Genesco Retail Group
Chairman, President, CEO; VF Corp.
2008 Rank: 24
The year kicked off with Wiseman, 53, at the center of speculation about VF’s possible takeover of DC Shoes. Though the purchase didn’t pan out, the executive had something bigger in mind. He reshuffled the firm’s top brands into three coalitions: Contemporary Brands (including Seven for All Mankind and John Varvatos), Outdoor Americas (with The North Face and JanSport) and Action Sports Americas (including powerhouses Vans and Reef). As part of the change, former Vans President Stephen Murray moved to head the Action Sports group, and Kevin Bailey came in to fill the open spot at Vans. In the third quarter, VF’s income fell 7 percent; however, Wiseman said revenue growth in the outdoor and action sports groups should accelerate in the last part of 2009, due to an increase in company-owned stores.
Power Players: Susan Kellogg, president, Contemporary Brands; Murray, president, Actions Sports Americas; Steve Rendle, president, Outdoor Americas
Designer; Marc Jacobs
Creative Director; Louis Vuitton
2008 Rank: 23
You can always count on Jacobs to break new ground. The 46-year-old has made a name for himself by taking the road less traveled, so while most designers spent the year churning out sky-high platforms and studded leather, Jacobs showed winged, flat sandals with turned-up toes in his recent eponymous collections, and kitten-heeled clogs at Louis Vuitton. His skill at transforming quirky accessories into some of the season’s hottest buys has helped him remain a retail darling. And with strong consumer demand, it’s no wonder Jacobs also opened more branded stores. In 2009, he bowed a Marc Jacobs collection store in São Paolo, as well as Marc by Marc Jacobs doors in São Paolo and London. “Lola,” the newest fragrance in the designer’s growing portfolio, also debuted in September.
Power Players: Robert Duffy, president, vice chairman, Marc Jacobs International; Bertrand Stalla-Bourdillon, chairman, CEO, Marc Jacobs International
Diego Della Valle
Chairman, CEO; Tod’s SpA
2008 Rank: 28
Where others saw doom and gloom, Della Valle, 55, saw an opening to make investments that could reap huge rewards. In May, the CEO increased his stake in Saks Inc. to 5.9 percent. As a shareholder with a bigger position, it should give him a greater say in how the beleaguered department store is run. His contributions could be invaluable considering the success he’s had with his own company. Tod’s hasn’t appeared to take much of a hit during the downturn, and for that reason, continues to wow analysts. For the six months ended June 30, net profits at the Italian firm, which owns the Tod’s, Hogan, Fay and Roger Vivier labels, increased 3.1 percent to 41.9 million euros, or $55.9 million, beating analyst estimates. And sales of shoes, the group’s core business, climbed 7.7 percent to 260.9 million euros, or $348.4 million, while apparel sales contracted 1.6 percent to 38.5 million euros, or $51.4 million.
Designer; Prada, Miu Miu
2008 Rank: 26
Prada, 60, remains one of the hardest-working designers around — and her labor of love pays off with stunning, directional shoes. Thigh-high wellies and fringed, leather-studded sandals took starring roles in her two successful Prada collections this year. On the retail front, Prada Group’s Prada, Miu Miu, Church’s and Car Shoe labels now boast more than 250 directly operated stores (including 17 new locations in the first half of this year), with footwear accounting for 31 percent of consolidated sales in 2008. And there’s even more growth to come, with Prada locations bowing in Prague, Madrid and Seoul, South Korea, and Miu Miu stores opening in Istanbul, Tokyo and Shenzhen, China, all in the first half of 2010. But it’s not all business all the time. Prada will tackle medieval fashions next February, when she designs the costumes for the New York Metropolitan Opera’s performance of Verdi’s “Attila.”
Power Player: Patrizio Bertelli, CEO
Director, CEO; Finish Line Inc.
2008 Rank: 27
Finish Line is in a race to cut costs and refresh its assortment with functional and stylish product. Under Lyon, 59, who took the helm of the retailer after co-founder Alan Cohen retired last December, Finish Line dumped its struggling Man Alive business and navigated the choppy economic waters by focusing on partnerships with premium brands — including Nike, Jordan, Adidas, The North Face and Puma — and on the retailer’s running product. Meanwhile, Lyon and his team aim to stimulate consumer spending by drawing on a fashion-centered sports product mix. But back-to-school proved daunting for the 680-store chain, which reported a second-quarter loss of $12.6 million, and an 11 percent decline in sales, to $298.7 million. For the first half of the year, net losses totaled $1.5 million. Going into 2010, Lyon has said unprofitable stores will be closed.
Power Players: Steven Schneider, president, COO; Ed Wilhelm, CFO; Sam Sato, EVP, chief merchandising officer
François-Henri Pinault, Jochen Zeitz
Chairman, CEO; PPR; Chairman, CEO; Puma AG
2008 Rank: 25
Call it a case of the hard luxe life. A brutal retail scene and massive drops in tourist spending pounded the French conglomerate PPR in 2009. Pinault, 47, reported a 7.6 percent sales dip, driven by weak performances in Europe by Gucci, Bottega Veneta and YSL, although bright spots included Balenciaga and YSL footwear and leather goods. And the Puma subsidiary has taken a hit, too, with sales off 9.8 percent. And Zeitz, 46, projected a challenging second half of 2009. But with cost-cutting measures in effect, the athletic brand could save as much as 150 million euros, or $222 million at current exchange, by 2011. With 12 of its Puma-sponsored African teams in contention for next summer’s World Cup, the brand is out to make some marketing and sales noise.
Chairman, President, CEO; Deckers Outdoor Corp.
2008 Rank: 39
By all accounts, the big boss at Deckers is arranging his pieces to checkmate retail once the recession lifts. In the last year, Martinez, 54, has been strengthening the company’s internal operations, improving IT, reviewing internal strategies and brand positions, and, above all, focusing on product. So far so good, at least for the Ugg brand, which posts impressive sales figures quarter after quarter. But there’s much work to be done at sustainable line Simple and at Teva, though a turnaround could be in sight for the latter, as early reads on spring ’10 show a positive response to its closed-footwear line. On the retail front, the company is exploring opportunities in Shanghai and Paris, among other hot international corridors. For the third quarter, Deckers reported a whopping 30 percent increase in earnings to $33.8 million on sales of $228.4 million.
CEO; Istithmar World
2008 Rank: 20
Rumors abounded in 2009 about Istithmar’s commitment to Barneys New York — and even the financial status of the retailer. But in September, Jackson, 43, reiterated the Dubai-based parent company’s dedication to the store and denied any reports that Barneys is for sale. Even so, the search for a new CEO (since Howard Socol decamped last year) has slowed. As such, Jackson remains on board and several EVPs are overseeing Barneys’ efforts to reduce expenses and inventory. But in July, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Barneys, saying it’s a very high credit risk due to liquidity concerns. Some bright spots have been in new store openings: An already-successful Chicago flagship bowed in April, and another debuted in Scottsdale, Ariz., in October.
Power Player: Julie Gilhart, fashion director, SVP, Barneys
Chairman, President, CEO; Kohl’s Corp.
Though he’s been with Kohl’s for nearly three decades, Mansell, 56, is only a few months into his new position as chairman of the mid-level department store chain, after taking over for a retiring Lawrence Montgomery (who held the No. 37 spot on last year’s Power list) in August. And it’s a good time to be at the head of the company. Kohl’s has consistently led the retail industry in sales throughout the year, pulling in positive numbers while others fell deeply into the red. As of Oct. 3, its comp sales were up 3 percent for the year, led by the strong performance of its accessories business. Aiding its progress is a series of high-wattage exclusive product lines, including Simply Vera Vera Wang, LC Lauren Conrad and Candie’s, which got a marketing boost this year from spokeswoman Britney Spears.
Power Players: Donald Brennan, senior EVP; John Worthington, senior EVP; Carol Baiocchi, VP, DMM
Chairman, CEO; Iconix Brand Group Inc.
2008 Rank: 34
When the mergers-and-acquisitions market is quiet, it’s a pretty good bet that Cole, 52, is working behind the scenes to get something done. Case in point: Iconix last Tuesday snapped up a majority stake in Marc Ecko, his second big buy this year (in May, the firm took a 50 percent stake in Ed Hardy). And last month, Cole tuned in to the fast-growing home shopping channel via a partnership between HSN and Badgley Mischka. Iconix also continued to up its presence in the discount channel by expanding Starter footwear in all Wal-Mart stores. In the marketing arena, the firm once again made headlines. Iconix’s Candie’s brand teamed up with Kohl’s (where it’s sold exclusively) to score a major endorsement deal with Britney Spears, one of the year’s biggest celebrity comeback stories. While that marriage was a slam dunk, Cole’s decision to tap new mom Bristol Palin as the ambassador for the Candie’s Foundation — which works to prevent teen pregnancy — sparked some controversy.
Power Player: Dari Marder, chief marketing officer
Jay Schottenstein, Michael MacDonald
Chairman; President, CEO; DSW Inc.
2008 Rank: 33
DSW is letting its shoes do the talking. With a new TV campaign released earlier this fall, the retailer is returning to its roots and placing its focus on giving consumers what they want: designer shoes at discount prices. MacDonald, 58, joined Schottenstein, 54, in April, and the analyst community has largely praised his cost cutting and back-to-basics approach to business. With a handful of store openings this year, the total count is now up to 306 locations across 39 states. For the quarter ending Aug. 1, the company reported net income of $7.6 million on sales of $369.5 million. Same-store sales slid 2.9 percent, compared with a 6.9 percent drop last year. Regardless of comp declines, the chain is on track to finish its fourth quarter on a high note, with more than $175 million in cash and short-term investments.
Power Player: Deborah Ferrée, vice chairman, chief merchandising officer
Chairman, President, CEO; Target Corp.
Following the retirement of former chairman Robert Ulrich (No. 29 last year) in January, Steinhafel, 54, now helms the 1,740-store Target empire. In the past, the retailer has hinged its reputation on its headline-making designer collaborations with such names as Alexander McQueen, Proenza Schouler and — this season’s selection — Anna Sui; however, increased competition from companies such as Kohl’s have siphoned off some of the bull’s eye’s rabid fan base. Analysts have estimated that Target has lost 14 percent of shoppers over the past few years — an unexpected result for a value merchant in a recession. That could be due to a change in focus for the Minneapolis-based company. Target recently has been working on a new store format that offers more food options in its general merchandise stores and helps it better compete with its top rival: Wal-Mart.
Power Players: Douglas Scovanner, EVP, CFO; Kathryn Tesija, EVP, merchandising
Chairman, CEO; Asics America
2008 Rank: 36
Oda, 61, made a sprint toward picking up market share in the running category, although that sector lately has slowed from the high double-digit numbers the company had posted in previous quarters. But Oda is forging ahead with the plans he laid out upon taking over the Japanese brand last year. The company opened its first U.S. store in New York last month, just in time for the Asics-sponsored ING New York City Marathon, where company athlete Ryan Hall was expected to be a top finisher. And with a new line of golf shoes launching in the U.S. and a collection of race styles aimed at recapturing hearts — and feet — in the specialty running channel, Asics is taking action on the product side.
Power Player: Richard Bourne, president
President, CEO; Timberland Co.
2008 Rank: 30
Can Timberland find its way out of the darkening financial forest? Revenues continued to fall for most of this year. Hoping to reverse course, Swartz, 49, tried to accentuate the positive with high-wattage marketing campaigns and product that broadened Timberland’s reach with new consumers. Recently, the company teamed with hip-hop star Wyclef Jean for its Earthkeepers program, with an aim to aid the planet and the communities in Haiti, and Jean released limited-edition designs for the Earthkeepers line, one of Timberland’s best-performing sub-brands. Also this year, Swartz’s eco mission led to the launch of Timberland Mountain Athletics, a range of performance shoes made from recycled materials that is targeted to millennials. And elsewhere, the firm expanded its premium Timberland Boot Co. line to include women’s product, and upped its focus on the global women’s business, relaunched this fall in Italy and partnering with fellow eco product-maker Aveda for the reboot.
Power Players: Carden Welsh, SVP, chief administrative officer; Mike Harrison, chief brand officer; Carrie Teffner, CFO
Kenneth Cole, Jill Granoff
Founder, Chairman, Chief Creative Officer; CEO; Kenneth Cole Productions Inc.
2008 Rank: 35
This year marked a rebirth of sorts for Cole, who is putting footwear back in the spotlight as he repositions the company with Granoff. The designer, 55, made a big splash in August with the debut of the Kenneth Cole New York 925 Silver Edition Collection, which incorporates the firm’s new comfort technology. The features will soon be added to all the company’s product lines — a move Cole believes will help differentiate the business in a competitive environment. Cole also continues to beef up his executive team. In May, he tapped former Hugo Boss exec Ingo Wilts as the brand’s first creative director, and recently added Peter Charles as supply chain chief. Eighteen months into her job at the firm, Granoff, 47, is forging ahead with aggressive plans to boost the company’s international presence and reinvigorate its U.S. retail stores. Look for those initiatives to take shape in 2010.
Power Players: Wilts, creative director; Charles, chief supply chain officer
Designer; Pierre Hardy
2008 Rank: 38
Will Hardy ever slow down? The 52-year-old designer’s creations are a favorite among fashion die-hards, so it’s hardly a surprise that he spent this year giving them more and more. He continued to expand his eponymous line with bigger men’s and women’s handbag collections, and also broadened the selection of women’s boots. And whether he is sending printed jersey scarf booties down Balenciaga’s runway or designing shearling-and-suede boots for Gap, Hardy’s shoes are always a hit — something he’s been doing consistently for the last decade. To celebrate his 10-year anniversary, the designer threw a major party during Paris fashion week at his Marais showroom, boasting a guest list that included top editors, buyers and the world’s preeminent fashion insiders. Hardy anticipates opening stores during 2010, with a focus on flagship locations in New York and London.
Chairman, CEO, Designer; Stuart Weitzman
2008 Rank: 40
He may have a reputation for making million-dollar shoes — and smashing ping-pong balls for hours on end — but Weitzman continues to serve up high fashion at affordable prices. And while his shoes are in hot demand, the 68-year-old is still not satisfied. Next up for him is a handbag collection produced by a top Italian licensee. And there are no signs of slowing down on the retail front either. With more than 500 points of distribution and 34 stores in the U.S. alone, business continues to grow. The ongoing success stateside is essential for Weitzman, as he expands his business overseas by adding to the current 32 international stores. Global accounts make up 35 percent of Weitzman’s business but are sure to increase as the designer opens two new stores in Canada and one in Australia.
Power Players: Wayne Kulkin, president, wholesale; Barbara Kreger, EVP
Lew Frankfort, Reed Krakoff
Chairman, CEO; President, Executive Creative Director; Coach Inc.
2008 Rank: 31
High-end consumers may still be clutching their wallets, but Frankfort, 63, and Krakoff, 45, think they know what will loosen that grip: Coach’s new Reed Krakoff line of apparel and accessories, priced at $495 to $1,195. However, the collection won’t be found in Coach’s doors. Instead, the firm will distribute it through specialty stores and a string of freestanding shops. Pricey bet? Only time — and consumers — will tell if it was worth it. Meanwhile, Frankfort’s feeling positive about the brand’s new focus on product for today’s value-driven customers, with Coach adding lower-priced goods to the mix. The company also wants even more shops to sell its luxe line, with 20 branded North American stores slated for new locations in fiscal 2010. Internationally, the company plans to bow 10 shops in Japan and 15 in China. That should all help to bolster its financials. Net income for the first quarter fell 3 percent, and sales in the period rose 1 percent to $761.4 million from $752.5 million, despite a one-third drop in the wholesale business.