Marcus Lemonis


Marcus Lemonis wants to help specialty fashion retailers thrive in a market where department stores are seeing declining store traffic, and consumer attitudes are rapidly evolving, including a preference for purchases that are trend driven instead of brand driven.

Above all, Lemonis, founder of the ML Fashion Group and Marcus Lemonis LLC, and star of CNBC’s reality series “The Profit,” wants to partner with small fashion boutiques to help them “take control of the destiny of their brands,” he said.

As a result, Lemonis is offering his expertise to struggling businesses in a variety of industries using his mantra of “people-process-product.” In the fashion space, Lemonis is focusing on gross margins as the key indicator of a company’s health. For specialty retail apparel firms, average gross margin rates are around 45 percent.

“And that’s simply not sustainable,” he told WWD. “I want to work and partner with fashion boutiques to bring their gross margins to up to 60 or more percent.”

Doing so would help these smaller-sized firms not only be better operators, but be significantly more profitable as well. His approach is simple: build better vendor relationships, reconfigure merchandise assortments and improve inventory turnover. Lemonis has about a dozen retailers and brands in his current portfolio, which includes e-commerce site Runway, which features more than 40 brands such as Hudson, Joe’s Jeans, Haute Hippie and Citizens of Humanity, among others.

His “3-P” mantra is the centerpiece of his approach to business, which plays out on his show. “The Profit” first aired in 2013, and his company noted that “more than $40 million of his own money has been invested into helping these small businesses.”

“While many people frequently call him the ‘business turnaround king,’ he will be the first to say that he really helps people with tough love so they can use the experience to inevitably succeed,” the company stated.

Lemonis has a new show premiering this year titled “The Partner.” In the new show, candidates “from diverse business backgrounds” compete for a chance to work with Lemonis and also take on an equity stake “in a multimillion-dollar company.”

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