Kay Koplovitz, chairman of Liz Claiborne Inc., signaled her support of the company’s direction under chief executive officer William McComb, who reassured shareholders Thursday that his restructuring efforts ultimately would lead to better times.
“We’ve had a lot of improvements,” Koplovitz told WWD after the company’s annual meeting, held in the showroom for the Isaac Mizrahi-designed Liz Claiborne New York line. “Our brands are focused. We’re very pleased with Isaac’s collection. The board is totally behind the direction and the management of the company.”
McComb, before handling the largely pro-forma business of the annual meeting, told shareholders the firm was repositioned and poised for improved results.
“To date, our performance has yet to reward shareholders, but we remain diligently focused on two goals — navigating the company through today’s treacherous markets and taking brand-right actions that strengthen the long-term saliency and earnings power of our portfolio,” said McComb.
The ceo has refocused the firm, setting up Juicy Couture, Kate Spade and Lucky Brand Jeans as independent business units, bringing in Mizrahi and cutting exclusive deals with retailers. But the stock, which closed down 3.2 percent at $4.28 Thursday, sunk as low as $1.46 in November as global markets fell and investors fretted over the company’s future. Claiborne negotiated some breathing room into its bank loans, but still has to contend with about $700 million in current liabilities on its balance sheet.
“Why should you believe in our company?” said McComb. “We own and operate great brands. They resonate and are relevant.…We certainly can sharpen price points and value propositions to improve performance, but the cultural relevance underlying all of our brands is very healthy. Juicy Couture, Lucky Brand Jeans and Kate Spade are all growing in editorial recognition and consumer loyalty.”
That hasn’t necessarily made for better sales, though broad weakness in consumer spending has made it hard to judge the relative strength of brands. First-quarter comparable-store sales fell 27 percent at Kate Spade, 22 percent at Juicy Couture and 18 percent at Lucky as the corporate net loss widened to $91.4 million, or 97 cents a diluted share, on a 28.8 percent net sales tumble to $779.7 million.
The ceo also said the turnarounds for the Liz Claiborne and Mexx brands were under way and that “profit margin expansion will happen.”
Investors controlling more than 78 million shares, or 82 percent of those outstanding, voted in person or by proxy at the meeting.
About 81 percent of the votes cast supported a nonbinding shareholder proposal to have the entire board stand for election each year. On this point, shareholders disagreed with the company, which recommended a continuation of three-year terms for directors and staggered elections for continuity’s sake.
In other business at the meeting, shareholders voted for the reelection of Bernard Aronson, Kenneth Gilman and Nancy Karch to the board; to ratify Deloitte & Touche as the firm’s auditor, and to remove the firm’s supermajority voting requirements, simplifying changes to the board.
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)