The Talbots Inc. on Wednesday named Avra Myers senior vice president and general merchandise manager of J. Jill, a new position, effective July 9.
J. Jill has been trying to make its clothing less dowdy by adding youthful items such as slim-fit jeans. The division is also working to upgrade its quality, incorporating high-grade cashmeres into the mix.
Paula Bennett, president of J. Jill, said she streamlined the hierarchy by eliminating the position of executive vice president of merchandising held by David Dirienzo, who left in the last year. The job included responsibilities for design, product development and merchandising and two vice presidents reported to the executive vice president.
"I thought it would be better to hire someone into a merchandising role," Bennett said.
"We'll merchandise more by color story rather than putting all the new items together so the stores are easier to shop and easier to understand," she said.
Myers, who will report to Bennett, joined Limited Brands in 2006 after 21 years at Club Monaco, where her most recent post was vice president of merchandising and new business development. She was also a partner at Binksley Fine Woolens and worked in product development at Alfred Sung.
Since January 2007, Myers had been president and gmm of Limited Stores. A majority stake in Limited was sold to an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners last July.
During the first quarter ended May 3, same-store sales at J. Jill declined 20.2 percent versus a 7.4 percent dip at Talbots. Net sales at the division fell to $71 million from $81 million in the comparable 2007 quarter.
Talbots, which purchased J. Jill in 2006 for $517 million, has been struggling with deteriorating profits and depressed stock price. The turnaround of J. Jill has been tougher than Talbots' expected, adding debt to the retailer.
Myers has had experience with turnaround situations. She spearheaded the effort to redefine Limited Stores, from the design concept to the store experience.
"I hope we'll be more fully into accessories, handbags, jewelry, scarves and belts, that relate back to our clothes," Bennett said. "Without a head of merchandising, we haven't been focusing so much on those businesses and how they can really enhance the apparel that we sell."
EXCLUSIVE: Two and half months after John Targon, cofounder and codesigner of Baja East, was hired as creative director of the contemporary division at Marc Jacobs, he has left the company, WWD has learned. Marc Jacobs International, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, confirmed Targon’s departure in a statement: “John Targon is a talented designer and we appreciate the work he has done here. Ultimately working together did not make sense for the brand and we wish him the best.” Read the story by @jessiredale, link in bio. #wwdnews
@theluxurycollection is officially launching a collection, tapping Sofia Sanchez de Betak for the capsule. Over 30 styles will be featured in the Chufy x The Luxury Collection, debuting next month at Bergdorf Goodman, The Webster, FiveStory and more. De Betak, known as “@chufy,” drew inspiration for the collection from her trips to Japan in the past year #wwdfashion
@lhd, founder and CEO of @thewebster, has teamed up with @lebonmarcherivegauche for the European launch of her ready-to-wear line, LHD. The launch will come with an exclusive pop-up opening today that’s set to run through May 20. Located on the second floor, it carries her debut Miami-themed resort collection, launched in November as see-now-buy-now. #wwdfashion
@longchamp, which marks its 70th anniversary this year, just opened its biggest U.S. store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. On the lower level there’s a floor-to-ceiling display of the brand’s iconic Le Pliage bag – in all of its different colors, shapes and sizes. Customers can also have their product personalized in-store by imprinting names, initials or emblems. #wwdfashion (📷: @ericmtownsend)
“Whenever I’m in that place of sound and music, I don’t have fear or nervousness…This album has a lot of themes of courage and boldness and I want to be the soundtrack for people’s lives. I’ll be so happy if [my songs] evoke strength in people, which I know music has done for me,” says @kimbramusic of her newest album “Primal Heart.” The New Zealand-born singer sat down with WWD to talk about her music, newest tour and connecting with hear fans — read more on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
Luxury handbag resale company @rebagofficial is planning to sell a rare collectible for $70,000: the @hermes White Crocodile Himalayan Birkin. The exclusive Birkin sold for about $100,000 in 2008, when @davidbeckham bought one for his wife @victoriabeckham to add to her collection. Read more about the rare Birkin on WWD.com #wwdaccessories
With her costume pearl necklace and what-you-see-is-what-you-get style, Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday at age 92, was a straight-shooter from start to finish.
Born Barbara Pierce in New York City, Bush served as the 37th first lady, as well as the country’s second lady from 1981 to 1989. In addition to being part of the longest presidential marriage — 73 years — Bush also had the unlikely distinction of having one son, George W., become the 43rd president and another son, Jeb, run unsuccessfully in 2016. Having served as second lady during the Reagan administration’s two terms and lived all over the world during her own husband’s ascending political career, Barbara Bush made it clear that literacy — not fashion — was her priority. Read more from Rosemary Feitelberg’s obituary on the late First Lady in WWD.com, link in bio. #barbarabush #wwdnews
Western and ’90s trends have influenced denim for fall 2018. Think raw, dark and coated jeans mixed with bold prints and tough leather. #trendtuesdays #wwdfashion (Styled by @thealexbadia;📷: @ryanplett)