Talbots Inc. said Tuesday that it retained a business consulting firm to help management with the company's brand positioning.
Separately, the firm also said that Philip H. Kowalczyk, president of Talbots' J. Jill Group Inc., will become the chief operating officer of Talbots, a newly created position at the parent company that oversees the Talbots and J. Jill businesses. Kowalczyk joined Talbots in 2004 as its chief administrative officer, and then worked on integrating the chain's J. Jill acquisition. Kirk Palmer & Assocs. Inc. is conducting a search for Kowalczyk's successor as president for J. Jill.
"The decision to evaluate the positioning of our brands in the marketplace is one of the important initiatives that our team is undertaking," said Trudy F. Sullivan in a statement. Sullivan became president and chief executive officer of the specialty chain Aug. 6. The retailer did not disclose the name of the consulting firm.
Sullivan said the company will develop a "comprehensive strategic plan" for profitable growth and enhancement of the performance of its business, and added the retailer will share information gleaned from the consulting firm and its own internal assessments with shareholders and associates "in the future."
The consulting firm, in addition to positioning of the Talbots and J. Jill brands, will address operating issues, store growth, productivity and distribution channels. The process is expected to be completed by the first quarter of fiscal 2008, Talbots said.
"Talbots remains a strong brand that resonates powerfully with our customers, and the insights derived from these efforts will help us to build on that strength to keep our brand relevant, fresh and consistent," Sullivan said.
A spokeswoman for the specialty chain emphasized that the company is "definitely not for sale."
"We anticipate a number of changes as a result of the study, as management will seek to reinvigorate Talbots. However, the real challenge, in our view, remains as the top merchant job is still unfilled, and strategic changes will likely not solve Talbots' problems if the product isn't right," wrote Richard Jaffe, analyst at Stifel Nicolaus.
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)
Breaking News: @hedislimane joins @celine as its new artistic, creative and image director. One of fashion’s preeminent image-makers and trendsetters, Slimane is to join the LVMH brand on Feb. 1 and unveil his first fashion proposition for men and women next September during Paris Fashion Week. It marks a major homecoming for Slimane, who cemented his reputation – and influenced men’s tailoring for more than a decade – as the designer of Dior Homme between 2000 and 2007. He went on to reinvent and ignite the house of Yves Saint Laurent, which he rechristened Saint Laurent, between 2012 and 2016 – all the while maintaining a close relationship with the Arnault family, which controls LVMH and Dior. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
“Personally I believe the Eighties have been the richest and more vivacious period for international fashion,” Giorgio Armani said when asked what his favorite decade of fashion is. It was a moment of disruption and experimentation and only thinking back to the first years of that decade is always an emotion for me, for what they have meant to me and my work.” The influence is clear in @giorgioarmani spring 2018 collection, pictured here, which was full of bright colors and unexpected prints. Read more about which decades designers loved most on WWD.com #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
For Lady Gaga’s only Italian show on her “Joanne World Tour,” the singer wore a range of @versace_official outfits. The standout piece: this custom-made bodysuit inspired by the brand’s spring 2018 collection. #wwdfashion (RG: @ladygaga)
@_camillaruth_ is expanding on the wellness-craze concept with @westbourne – a new NYC restaurant that’s both a healthy-minded café as well as a business that gives back to the community. Marcus works with the Robin Hood foundation to give back to The Door, a non-profit providing youth development services, and also hires employees through The Door. Read our full interview with Marcus on giving back through food on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)