NEW YORK — The softer side of Sears, Roebuck & Co. has been getting softer.
The Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based retailer plans to overhaul its cost structure, which includes job losses at its headquarters, as part of its quest to gain productivity improvements, according to a spokeswoman.
She explained that the review was "something introduced to our organization in the last couple of weeks." Although market sources said several hundred jobs are expected to be lost, the spokeswoman declined comment on the numbers involved.
As reported, the reduced head count is expected to be finalized within the next two months. Sears’ review follows an ongoing slump in sales and concerns over its credit card portfolio.
Despite the retailer’s lackluster performance, chief executive officer Alan Lacy took home a $1.8 million bonus last year, nearly tripling the bonus he received — $670,000 — in 2001, according to a regulatory filing last week.
Meanwhile, staffers at Hoffman Estates are bracing for job cuts.
"When the cuts take place, the vast majority will occur at headquarters. A lot of departments are undergoing review, right now," the spokeswoman said.
She declined comment on how much the retailer was hoping to save on its cost-cutting measures, as well as whether it was having any problems meeting its business plan goals for fiscal 2003.
Sears is also making adjustments to its Lands’ End operation and Covington line. Another spokeswoman, this time for Sears’ Softlines, said that in-store shop formats will be used for all Lands’ End merchandise. The rollout last fall included the format for its women’s and children’s apparel sections, but not for men’s, where Lands’ End khakis were alongside those by Dockers and Covington in some stores. The other stores in the rollout had the in-store shops for men’s as a test to gauge customer reaction.
She said that sales showed that the in-store shop format drove more volume.
By August, the company expects to have Lands’ End in all 870 full-line stores. The line is in 401 stores currently.
In addition, adjustments are being made to Covington to help differentiate it from Lands’ End."Where Lands’ End is very classic, Covington is classic with a twist," the Softlines spokeswoman commented. "I wouldn’t call it trendy, but it will be classic apparel with Lycra or fall colorations to it. It might be a little different in style or fabric. We’re trying to make a distinction between Covington and Lands’ End. This spring, for example, Covington had more florals."
The current game plan is to have the two brands almost adjacent to each other, with both very close to the mall entrance. Lands’ End is typically to the left of the entrance, while Covington is usually straight ahead in the ready-to-wear section, the spokeswoman said.
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)
The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
How does a “regular, degular, schmegular” girl from the Bronx, N.Y., become a Grammy-nominated artist with a certified platinum record in less than a year? Call it the @iamcardib come up. The 25-year-old has become a musical sensation, and the fashion world is taking note. “If I could describe her style I would say drama. She’s really into the dramatics,” says Cardi B’s stylist @kollincarter. See how Carter styles her bold and out there looks with the link in bio. #wwdfashion
“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion