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Craig Nomura to Head Retail at Levi’s

He succeeds Joelle Maher at the top of an organization with 2,800 stores and 7,300 employees.

Craig Nomura has been appointed president of global retail at Levi Strauss & Co., effective Feb. 3.

This story first appeared in the January 24, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Nomura, most recently senior vice president of global development at Williams-Sonoma Inc., will also serve as executive vice president of the San Francisco-based jeans and sportswear firm and report to Chip Bergh, president and chief executive officer.

He succeeds Joelle Maher, who left Levi’s in June to join Gymboree Corp. as chief operating officer.

In his new position, Nomura will be responsible for Levi’s retail network of about 2,800 owned-and-operated, franchised and outlet stores as well as its e-commerce operations. Levi’s global retail team accounts for about 7,300 of its 17,000 employees around the world.

Prior to joining Williams-Sonoma in 2011, Nomura held posts at Gap Inc., Guess Inc., Foot Locker Inc. and Gymboree and was involved in expanding retailing operations in North America, the U.K., Japan, Singapore and the Middle East.

“Craig is a true global citizen with a proven track record of delivering profitable growth for some of the world’s top retailers,” Bergh commented. “Whether it’s through strategic franchise management, consumer-focused vertical retail experiences or tight inventory management, Craig’s deep expertise across all aspects of retail operations will be a great asset to the management team as we work to make LS & Co. a world-class omnichannel retailer.”

In his two-and-a-half years at Levi’s helm, Bergh has made the expansion of retailing activity a priority. Company-operated stores and e-commerce activity expanded to 21 percent of total revenues, or about $710 million of the company’s $3.39 billion in sales, in the first nine months of 2013, up from 18 percent during the comparable period in 2012. On a conference call to discuss third-quarter results, Bergh pinpointed e-commerce at 2 percent of quarterly sales and 8 percent of revenues derived from company-operated, direct-to-consumer activities.

In July, he told WWD, “Retail growth is gross-margin accretive and retail allows you to bring your brands to life in a way we can control.”

Levi’s expanded its e-commerce breadth last week with the addition of a site for its higher-end Made & Crafted collection at levismadeandcrafted.com.

“I’ve been a fan of LS & Co. and its iconic brands since I bought my first pair of Levi’s 501 jeans and I’m thrilled to be part of shaping how the next generation of fans experiences our brands,” Nomura said.