The beleaguered retailer is bringing on Adam Brotman, a digitally savvy veteran of Starbucks, to serve as its first “chief experience officer,” a role that looks to be a first for the retailer. A representative of J. Crew could not be immediately reached for comment.
During Brotman’s nearly 10 years with Starbucks, where he most recently served as executive vice president of global retail operations and partner digital engagement, he led the company’s digital business, including initiatives around mobile payment and apps.
He’s also been a member of the board at Neiman Marcus, but the retailer said Thursday that Brotman is resigning effective Feb. 20, noting the move is not the result of an “disagreement.”
J. Crew also recently linked up with WeWork, the community-driven urban coworking space, by featuring some diverse members of WeWork in the brand’s catalogue.
The tie-up includes a string of panel discussions that will be held at J. Crew pop-ups within WeWork spaces and a WeWork spokeswoman said the effort will showcase not only its community, but also J. Crew’s “authentic approach to fashion.”
There are other signs that J. Crew is looking to appeal to maybe a hipper contingent of shoppers. In January, it added to its board Seth Farbman, chief marketing officer of Spotify, the music streaming platform that boasts about 75 million active users, more than 60 percent of whom are under 30 years old.
And Brett, who came in last summer to replace longtime ceo Mickey Drexler, previously led West Elm, a furniture and homewares retailer that’s a favorite among Millennials.
All of this change is part of a needed effort to pull J. Crew out of its retail rut. Sales are still falling off, despite outsized momentum at Madewell, and the company has closed dozens of stores in recent months.
Speaking at the end of November about the company’s third-quarter results, Brett said his general goal is to “reinvigorate the J. Crew brand to reflect the America of today.”
Chief operating officer Michael Nicholson added, “We must evolve our business model from a traditional brick-and-mortar specialty retailer to a digital-first omnichannel business.”
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