Saadia Group is staffing up.
The company, which has stockpiled a number of former brick-and-mortar retail nameplates including Lord & Taylor and New York & Company, is bringing Sean Foster on board as its first chief executive officer. In addition, Mark Stocker, a veteran of Macy’s Inc., is joining the company as president and chief merchandising officer of Lord & Taylor and New York & Company.
In the fall of 2019, Saadia Group bought the e-commerce business of RTW Retailwinds Inc., the company that owned New York & Company and Fashion to Figure, a large-size women’s chain, for $40 million. A month after that deal, it bought Lord & Taylor and its parent, Le Tote, for $12 million through a bankruptcy auction.
Last March, Gabrielle Union began working with Saadia Group to relaunch her successful collaboration at both Fashion to Figure and New York & Company. Also, since joining Saadia Group, New York & Company added menswear in August 2021 along with women’s footwear and home goods.
Jack Saadia, principal and cofounder of Saadia Group, said his business has “continued to shift and grow, especially through the pandemic until now, and as we’ve pivoted largely from a brick-and-mortar model to digital-first. In this, we’ve learned how to build digital experiences that offer the same connection, quality and bond that our in-person storefronts once did and we’re continuing to learn more every day on how we can improve. Under Sean’s guidance and direction we’re aiming to widen our digital footprint, making shopping accessible and desirable in a way that feels central to our mission.”
Foster served most recently as chief marketing officer of Noom, the digital health care company. Prior to that, he was senior vice president of global e-commerce for Coty, president of online for Avon Products and chief merchandising officer of The Gilt Groupe.
Saadia pointed to Foster’s history at numerous startups and successful brands and said he was “attracted to the possibilities of making Saadia Group’s portfolio a major presence in the digital landscape. He wants to make our digital experience feel just as intimate as it did in-person through an array of methods.”
Foster believes Saadia’s “portfolio of iconic brands provides an enormous potential for growth, for success, and for change. I’m looking forward to not only making each one of these brands stand out in the digital landscape, but helping them to refine their individual purposes and missions, securing who their customers are, how they can best serve them, and how, as an innovative brand, they can disrupt the market by providing both products and experiences that are unattainable elsewhere.”
Although Saadia operates a number of nameplates, the best known are Lord & Taylor and New York & Company, the businesses that Stocker will be merchandising in his new role. Prior to joining Saadia, Stocker spent more than 15 years at Macy’s serving most recently as general business manager of apparel and overseeing the men’s division.
Saadia said the strength of his company’s portfolio is the “legacy brands with longstanding reputations and customers. Right now, we’ve seen a particular excitement around New York & Company, which has continued to boast a successful partnership with actress and activist Gabrielle Union. Lord & Taylor proves their powerful presence cultivated over 195 years, with loyal customers that share a personal emotional connection to the brand. The goal is to continue to build upon the legacy and we have plans to carry the brand into a new age. As fashion continues to become more inviting, we’re excited for the growth that’s to come from Fashion to Figure, a leading destination for curvy-conscious clothing, that continues to disrupt the fashion landscape in an exciting way.”
He said there are no immediate plans to add other retail holdings to the company’s coffers. “We like to keep our minds and possibilities open,” he said. “[But] right now, under Sean’s guidance, we’re excited to grow our current portfolio.”