David Witman didn’t stay retired long.
The former chief men’s merchant for Nordstrom, who retired from the Seattle-based retailer on Feb. 15 after 27 years with the company, has joined Ted Baker as “U.S. attache.”
A newly created position, Witman will work with the London-based brand as “a consultant, mentor and adviser” to continue to grow its North American business, the company said.
“We are delighted to welcome David into our family to help mentor the brand at this pinnacle time within North America and to take the brand forward as we continue this exciting journey,” said Ray Kelvin, Ted Baker’s chief executive officer and founder.
Witman, 58, started his career at Franklin’s, a specialty store in Tucson, Ariz., and joined Nordstrom in 1990 as a salesperson in the Seattle store. In 1991, he moved to Chicago as the company’s first men’s sportswear buyer, where he played a critical role in growing business in the Midwest region. He rose to regional buyer then regional divisional merchandise manager before being promoted to the men’s general merchandise manager for the company in 2000. He was executive vice president of men’s and children’s wear when he retired and is credited with growing Nordstrom’s men’s business to $1.5 billion in revenues over his 16-year tenure overseeing that area.
Witman said he opted to join Ted Baker because it has “great product and really genuine people. I look forward to working with the Ted Baker family to add value and help further develop their established and growing distribution channels: retail, wholesale and licensing.”
Ted Baker, which offers men’s and women’s wear with an irreverent sense of British humor, operates 26 stores in the U.S. and six in Canada as well as 31 concessions at Bloomingdale’s and 11 outlets. According to the company’s recently released annual report, it is planning to continue to develop its business in the region by opening stores in Los Angles and Houston, the latter slated for June 30, and relocate its Aventura, Fla., unit as well as opening new concessions in Canada.
Ted Baker had overall sales of 531 million pounds, or $688 million, for the 52 weeks ended Jan. 29, up 16.4 percent from the prior year. Excluding licensed stores, the company’s retail sales in North America in the period were 103.4 million pounds, or $134 million, while wholesale represented 44.2 million, or $57.3 million.