Christine Beauchamp has again taken the path from consultant to president.
Repeating the pattern she followed at Limited Brands Inc. earlier in her career, Beauchamp, a strategic consultant to AnnTaylor Stores Corp. since earlier this year, has been named president of the company’s Ann Taylor division. She succeeds Adrienne Lazarus, who’s left the firm after 17 years, the last two at the helm of the Ann Taylor division.
Beauchamp is an alumnus of the retail practice of the Boston Consulting Group. She advised Leslie Wexner, chairman and chief executive officer of Limited Brands, on growth strategies for Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, as well as the Express division, since divested, before joining the Columbus, Ohio-based retailer as senior vice president of commercialization in 2003. She later became president and general merchandise manager of Victoria’s Secret Beauty before being named president and ceo of the unit in May 2006. She was succeeded in that role by Shashi Batra.
In her new post, Beauchamp reports to Kay Krill, president and ceo of Ann Taylor.
The company raised second-quarter guidance Tuesday in advance of its Aug. 22 reporting date. However, in its first quarter, net income dropped 17.7 percent, to $25.9 million, on a 2 percent increase in sales, to $591.7 million, that included an 11.5 percent drop in same-store sales at the Ann Taylor division. Loft same-store sales eked out a 0.7 percent gain. The corporation’s current expansion plans center on Loft and its outlet stores.
“This transition of leadership at our heritage brand is taking place at an exciting time of evolution for Ann Taylor,” Krill said. “I am delighted that Christine, a seasoned retail executive and valued partner to me over the last several months, will be assuming the leadership of our Ann Taylor Stores division. She has a deep understanding of our brand and customer base and will move seamlessly into this critical role.”
Although Ann Taylor is the company’s namesake brand, it is not its largest. That distinction belongs to Ann Taylor Loft, which, as of the May 3 conclusion of the company’s first quarter, operated 513 units with a total of 3 million square feet. Ann Taylor’s 347 stores occupied 1.9 million square feet, while the 81 outlet stores accounted for about 600,000 square feet. During the fiscal year ended last February, Ann Taylor generated $866.6 million in sales, 36.2 percent of total group revenues of $2.4 billion, versus $1.17 billion, or 49 percent, at Loft. Ann Taylor was responsible for a much higher average unit retail price — $44.57 against $28 — but sales per square foot were closer — $465 for Ann Taylor against $406 at Loft, according to the company’s annual report.
The company doesn’t break down operating income or margins by division.
Krill said Tuesday that “our conservative approach to managing the business in this difficult consumer environment” would help the company produce second-quarter earnings higher than the range of 42 to 47 cents previously provided. Analysts on average had expected 45 cents for the quarter, according to Yahoo Finance.
Krill continued, “Notwithstanding our better-than-expected results for the first half, we are maintaining our outlook for diluted EPS for the year in the range of $1.80 to $1.90, as the macroeconomic environment remains very weak and uncertain and traffic levels continue to be challenging.”
Shares of AnnTaylor finished Tuesday’s New York Stock Exchange session at $25.85, down 15 cents, or 0.6 percent, during a day when retail shares gave back some of the gains they’d picked up on Monday.
AnnTaylor Stores Corp. currently operates 941 stores.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast