Talbots has a new executive team to go along with its new owner — both of which hope to turn the specialty retailer around.
Michael Archbold is the new chief executive officer and chief financial officer, effective immediately. Archbold is an industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience, holding c-level positions. He was most recently president and chief operating officer of The Vitamin Shoppe. Prior posts include a stint as cfo and chief administrative officer of Saks Inc.
In addition to Archbold, Lizanne Kindler was named president. Kindler, who joined Talbots in 2008 and left in 2010, was most recently executive vice president for product development at Kohl’s Corp. She also had a stint on the merchandising team at Ann Inc. before her first tour of duty at Talbots.
The final new member of Talbots’ troika is Michele Mandell, who has been named chief operating officer. Mandell, who retired from Talbots in 2009, is a 26-year veteran of the retailer. Her last position at Talbots was executive vice president of stores. Sources familiar with the appointment said Mandell’s history with the company is expected to serve as the “foundation” to reenergize the struggling business as it seeks to bridge the soul of Talbots with a modern vision to move forward.
Archbold said, “By restoring the company’s focus on Talbots’ classic styling, we will be able to reconnect with the company’s historical customer base. Lizanne, Michele and I look forward to working closely with the other members of the Talbots’ leadership team and the company’s more than 8,000 committed and hard-working associates to reestablish the brand as the category leader.”
Stefan Kaluzny, managing director of Sycamore Partners, said Tuesday, “We are pleased to have completed this acquisition and are ready to deliver on the promise of executing on the significant potential inherent in Talbots, which remains a premier, storied brand.”
He added that the new team is made up of “all veteran retailers and, together, [they] have extensive financial, merchandising, product development, marketing and operational skills that will be invaluable as we move to better position Talbots for long-term, positive growth.”
According to sources, Kaluzny told Talbots employees about the new management team on Monday.
These sources also said Kaluzny on Monday sought to reassure employees of Sycamore’s belief and commitment in Talbots’ future.
According to one source, Kaluzny wrote in an e-mail to employees: “Talbots is a brand with 65 years of history and a great deal of potential. Together, we believe we can help the brand realize the potential and move forward on a path of positive growth.”
This source also said Kaluzny emphasized that the “collective focus will be on financial discipline, protecting the integrity of the Talbots brand and, most importantly, on our customers....”
Turning around the retailer won’t be an easy task.
For the fourth quarter ended Jan. 28, Talbots posted a loss of $53.3 million, or 77 cents a diluted share, compared with a loss of $2.8 million, or 4 cents, a year earlier. Revenues fell 1.1 percent to $289.4 million from $292.6 million. For the year, Talbots posted net losses of $111.9 million on sales of $1.14 billion.
One risk is that the core customer has already moved on and found other brands to meet her shopping and fashion needs. Getting her attention back will be that much more difficult amid all the marketing noise among the different distribution channels, including online.
The firm operates 516 Talbots stores in 46 states and Canada.
Talbots is Sycamore’s second deal. Its first deal, in November, was a 51 percent stake in Limited Brands Inc.’s sourcing division, Mast Global.
Sycamore now has more than $1 billion in capital under management.
The private equity firm is expected to remain on the prowl for more deals in the retail and fashion space.
From overseeing America’s fastest-growing speciality retailers to codifying cool, WWD talked to the women who are leading the way for the future of beauty. Check out our Instagram Stories to see how these women built today and are creating tomorrow. (📸: @hannah_khymych) #wwdbeauty
For @laperlalingerie's spring 2018 show, the brand chose to host their event at @thevenetianmacao. With Chinese megastars @bingbing_fan and @hubing in attendance, La Perla debuted a rock ‘n’ roll-inspired collection. The show marked the start of Sands Macao Fashion Week, which runs from October 19 to 24 — the city’s first such event. Pictured here are models backstage with glimmering eyes. #wwdfashion (📷: Cheuk-Yin To)
Trending for spring 2018: top stitch design. Gone are the days of stitch just for seams — designers are using the once-minimal detail to create strong decorative elements. (📷: Paola Testa; Styled by @andrew_shang) #wwdfashion
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)