NEW YORK — The president of the Ann Taylor division of Ann Taylor Stores Corp., Kim Roy, resigned Thursday, leaving unfilled her mission to turn around the long-struggling women’s chain.
The company said Roy resigned "for personal reasons." The decision was surprising, considering she was continuing to build the team as recently as about a month ago, when she hired some new executives, including a designer. However, there has been speculation that Roy never felt comfortable with the culture at Ann Taylor, which is led by chairman J. Patrick Spainhour. She joined Ann Taylor in May 2001, after serving as head of several divisions at Liz Claiborne.
Ann Taylor has begun a search for Roy’s successor. Sources were speculating that Kay Krill, president of the Loft division, would be the top candidate to fill the slot.
Roy and Spainhour were unavailable for comment, though Spainhour said in a statement: "Kim did much to reassert within our Ann Taylor division a renewed focus on our brand’s core attributes and competencies in classic career apparel and polished casual apparel and accessories. We wish her well as she pursues new projects and interests. Until a replacement is found, Ann Taylor division merchandising and design will report directly to me."
One source said, "She’s a very performance-driven executive and not used to a lot of ‘soft and fuzzies.’ Spainhour is a finance guy, but he really sees his role as a mission to make a difference in the lives of women. The transition was hard for her."
For the past few years, the Ann Taylor division has been on a roller coaster, lacking the steady performance and growth potential of its sister division, Loft. In December’s comparable-store sales, for example, Ann Taylor comped down 19.1 percent, well short of expectations, compared with Loft’s 4.1 percent decrease. AT’s comps were affected by a significant decline in non-full-price sales, which more than offset an approximate 16 percent increase in full-price sales. Full-price inventory levels were also up more than 20 percent from a year ago. From a product perspective, weak performance in separates and woven tops was partially offset by better performance in full-price sweaters, suits and dresses.In November, the gap was less, as AT comped down 11.7 percent, while Loft’s comps decreased 7.6 percent.
However, Ann Taylor got its groove back in the spring with improved merchandise assortments, and the formula extended into the fall as it reported late that third-quarter profits more than doubled.
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion