Joel Waller, who joined Christopher & Banks Corp. as president two months ago, has added the title of chief executive officer of the women’s chain following Larry Barenbaum’s resignation as ceo and director.
The company has formed a committee of its board to search for a permanent ceo.
Jules Rouse, senior vice president and general merchandise manager of the struggling specialty chain, has left the firm. Ann McDermott and Tricia Perket have been named divisional general merchandise managers for the Christopher & Banks and CJ Banks divisions, respectively, continuing to report to Waller. They reported to Rouse prior to Waller’s arrival.
Waller, 71, is the former ceo of Wilsons The Leather Experts, acquired by G-III Apparel Group Ltd. in July 2008, and headed The Wet Seal Inc. for three years beginning in 2005.
“My immediate priority is to bring stability to the organization while finalizing our merchandise and marketing strategies,” he said Friday. “Our focus is on the execution of these strategies to deliver improved operating results.”
Barenbaum, who’d previously been chairman of the Minneapolis-based firm, moved up to ceo on an interim basis in October 2010 upon the departure of Lorna Nagler. He’s been a director of the company since 1992.
In November, the company said it would close about 100 of its weaker stores and reported it had terminated 7 percent of its headquarters staff and 13 percent of its store operations management staff, actions designed to trim its expenses by about $2.2 million a year.
Waller, a retail restructuring expert, told WWD that during part of the time since he left Wet Seal, he’d returned to Wilsons to assist in its integration into G-III. He doesn’t expect to fill Barenbaum’s seat on C&B’s board.
“Larry [Barenbaum] brought me in here to do some things and that’s what I’ll be doing,” he said. “Nearly all of the stores we said we’d be closing have been shut and we’ve got plenty more to work on.”
Regardless of the length of his tenure, Waller faces a considerable task in his new post. Through the first nine months of its current fiscal year, ended Nov. 26, the company lost $39.3 million, or $1.11 a diluted share, including a $12.2 million pretax charge for impairment and restructuring in connection with the closure of its underperforming stores. Same-store sales through the first nine months were down 3 percent while net sales declined 1.3 percent to $344 million. Gross margin descended to 28.4 percent of sales from 38 percent in the first nine months of fiscal 2011.
The firm operates 686 stores in 45 states plus the christopherandbanks.com and cjbanks.com e-commerce sites.
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye