Rue21, the Warrendale, Pennsylvania-based youth and value-oriented fashion chain, has named Josh Burris its new chief executive officer.
Burris was CEO of GNC, the retailer selling vitamins and supplements. Earlier in his career, Burris worked at several fashion retailers and brands, including Abercrombie & Fitch, where he is listed on LinkedIn as a former senior director of stores and operations. He also worked at Hollister and at various G-III apparel brands including DKNY, Karl Lagerfeld Paris, Calvin Klein Performance, Wilsons Leather and G.H. Bass.
At Rue21, Burris succeeds Bill Brand, who according to the company revealed earlier this month that he would step down. No further explanation for Brand’s departure was given. Brand joined Rue21 in October 2020 after serving as chief retail officer of Carnival Corp. cruise ships and earlier president of HSN.
Burris starts his new job on April 3.
“Rue21 serves the most vibrant and fastest-growing segments focused on affordable fashion that’s accessible to all, making it well positioned for growth,” Burris said Monday in a statement. “I have dedicated my career to building retail brands centered around the consumer and am excited to move Rue21 forward…”
Rue21 targets the 15-to-25-year-old Gen Z customer, multicultural, with family incomes of $50,000 to $80,000. It sells affordable “on-trend” private-label fashion including lots of jeans, jeggings, sweaters and hoodies, in regular and plus sizes, with much of the assortment in the $20 to $40 range, and often promoted on sale. Its stores are typically located in small or midsized cities, where there is not an abundance of retailers offering fashion. Warrendale is a suburb of Pittsburgh.
“Josh has decades of experience transforming popular consumer-facing brands, which makes him best equipped to lead Rue21 into its next chapter,” said Vuk Djunic, partner in Blue Torch Capital, an owner of Rue21 along with Southpaw Asset Management and Pentwater Capital Management.
Burris joined GNC in 2019 and, as president, was instrumental in leading GNC through its Chapter 11 bankruptcy process that started in June 2020. The Chapter 11 filing came in the early months of the pandemic, when the company was publicly traded. GNC emerged from bankruptcy through a sale to China-based Harbin Pharmaceutical Group, which promoted Burris to GNC’s CEO.