Men’s wear veteran Mary Beth Blake has been promoted to president of K&G Fashion Superstore, the discount division of Men’s Wearhouse.

This story first appeared in the November 25, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Blake, K&G’s chief merchandising officer since May, fills a position that has been vacant since Chris Zender left the company in January. Before joining Men’s Wearhouse, Blake was senior vice president and general merchandise manager of men’s and children’s for the Macy’s Midwest division.

She will continue to report to Doug Ewert, president and chief operating officer of Men’s Wearhouse.

“Mary Beth has made significant contributions to enhance our K&G merchandising strategies…her leadership will deliver long-term value to the business,” Ewert said.

Like almost every retailer, Men’s Wearhouse has been affected by the economic downturn. Last week, the company reported that net income in the third quarter fell 39 percent to $14.6 million, or 28 cents a diluted share, from $37.1 million, or 69 cents, in last year’s quarter. Excluding costs connected to the closure of the firm’s Golden Brand tailored clothing manufacturing subsidiary in Canada, earnings per share was 30 cents, above consensus estimates of 24 cents as well as the 24-cent to 28-cent range projected by the company in October.

Sales fell 10.2 percent to $459.7 million from $512.1 million in the year-ago period. Tailored clothing sales were off 12.9 percent to $334.4 million, and tuxedo rental services inched up 0.4 percent to $96.5 million. Same-store sales fell 12.1 percent at Men’s Wearhouse and 13 percent at K&G.

The company had been projecting a midsingle-digit decline at K&G and attributed the larger decrease to reduced store traffic, Men’s Wearhouse said in its third-quarter conference call last week. Men’s wear sales remain challenging at the division, the company said, while it is seeing “positive trends” in some of its women’s categories. Margins were under stress in the period as assortments continue to be modified and stores are redesigned, resulting in higher markdowns.

K&G’s sales in the fourth quarter are expected to decline in the high-single to low-double digits. The division operates 108 stores.

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