Retail Ventures Inc. has a new chief executive officer and a new challenge as department stores slash prices and push its Filene’s Basement off-price unit to go even lower.
James McGrady, 57, chief financial officer of the company, will add the titles of president and ceo after Heywood Wilansky steps down at the end of January upon expiration of his contract. McGrady continues as a vice president of RVI’s DSW division.
Disclosure of the corner-office switch, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday, came a day after Retail Ventures posted lower third-quarter profits.
Net income for the parent of Filene’s and DSW fell 85.4 percent to $10 million, or 20 cents a diluted share, from $68.2 million, or $1.20, a year ago. The firm spun off an 81 percent share of Value City Department Stores in January, but the business failed in October and began to liquidate.
Sales for the three months ended Nov. 1 inched up 2.9 percent to $503.5 million from $489.4 million. Same-store sales fell 3.3 percent, with Filene’s off 1 percent and DSW down 4.1 percent.
Shares of the firm rose 2 cents, or 1.7 percent, on Thursday to close at $1.20, 83.9 percent below the 52-week high of $7.46.
On a conference call with Wall Street to discuss the results, McGrady said RVI shares had been pulled down by the firm’s exposure to the Value City bankruptcy and that turning around Filene’s Basement is a priority.
“What’s going to have to happen is, once we get through the bankruptcy, we’ll get to see what the true effect is upon Retail Ventures,” McGrady said. “One thing that we can do is to focus upon Filene’s Basement…and get it to be in a profitable position.”
Filene’s sales fell 8.1 percent for the quarter to $112.2 million. DSW’s sales rose 6.5 percent to $391.4 million.
Although the plan is to continue to operate Filene’s and DSW under the Retail Ventures banner, McGrady, in response to an analyst’s question, said the company would continue to evaluate that structure.
Even with an abundance of excess merchandise on the market for off-price retailers, Filene’s is buying cautiously because consumers are so hesitant to spend.
“With our plans for the ’09 business being uncertain, we’re going to try to keep our inventories very, very tight,” Mark Shulman, president of Filene’s, said on the conference call. “We are holding a lot of money back. We’re not spending it up front like we have in the past.
“We’re going to have to be a lot more promotional than we ever have been in the fourth quarter, particularly in December,” he said. “Our thinking about December is to be as promotional as we need to be to make sure that we hit the customer when they are in the store, because when you get into January, that’s going to be very difficult to do.”
“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