Here’s Why J.Crew Just Slashed 250 Jobs

J.Crew Ready to Wear Fall 2017
J.Crew fall '17 presentation.
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Another sign of the times: J.Crew Group Inc. is joining a growing list of retailers slashing jobs and reorganizing to keep up with rapid digital shifts.

The owner of the J.Crew and Madewell brands said today that it will initiate a headcount reduction of approximately 150 full-time and 100 open positions, primarily from its corporate headquarters. The company expects to see $30 million in pre-tax savings in connection with the reduction as well as a charge of $10 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2017 for severance payments and other termination costs.

J.Crew chairman and CEO Millard Drexler said a rapidly evolving retail environment bolstered by accelerating consumer demand for “greater speed to market, convenience and personalized shopping experience,” motivated the company’s decision to reorganize.

We take these difficult decisions very seriously, but believe they are absolutely necessary. We are streamlining our teams as we evolve our business and processes to cater to the new demands of the retail industry,” Drexler said. “While challenging, we know what needs to be done and this is a critical step to position J.Crew for the future.  We are committed to treating impacted associates with respect and support through this period of change.”

As a part of the reorganization, J.Crew also overhauled its top-management ranks. J.Crew Group president, COO and CFO Michael Nicholson will additionally assume responsibility for the J.Crew brand which includes the planning and allocation, merchandising, marketing and design functions.
Lisa Greenwald has been named chief merchandising officer of the J.Crew Brand. Greenwald joined the company in 2004 and most recently was SVP of merchandising for Madewell.

J.Crew also recently announced that Somsack Sikhounmuong was named chief design officer, effective April 5, 2017. Sikhounmuong has been with J.Crew since 2001, serving in various senior design roles, and from 2013-2015 he was head of design for Madewell. He will now report to Nicholson.

Libby Wadle has been named president of the Madewell Brand. She joined the company in 2004 and most recently she served as president of the J.Crew brand.