OLD NAVY’S NEW RECRUIT
Byline: Katherine Bowers
LOS ANGELES — No word yet on whether Carrie Donovan and Magic the Dog will be hanging ten again, but Old Navy has a new head of marketing.
Old Navy hired former ESPN vice president Tom Clendenin as senior vice president of marketing. He replaces Richard Crisman, who took a medical leave from the chain in September.
Clendenin will be responsible for brand marketing, advertising, in-store promotions and public relations. He will report to Old Navy president Jenny Ming, as well as to Amy Schoening, Gap Inc.’s chief marketing officer.
A significant part of Clendenin’s time will likely go to overseeing the Old Navy advertising budget, estimated last year at $105.5 million. A spokesman declined to say whether the brand will spend more this year, but said Old Navy will kick off a limited TV ad campaign next week. The major spring ad campaign will make its debut at the end of March and will continue the high-energy item-at-a-price push seen at the holidays.
“We’re going more in that direction, trying to establish brand position that’s focused on fun, fashion and value,” he said.
The troubled retailer, which has seen comparative-store sales skid since the middle of last year, has yet to replace vice president of finance Chuck Ferer, who resigned in September. Top marketing positions are also open at Banana Republic and Gap divisions, but the spokesman said the company’s priority is to fill the Gap position first.
On a conference call in December, chief executive officer Mickey Drexler acknowledged that Old Navy “was not working….We were running the business for young customers at the exclusion of their parents.”
But the company doesn’t seem to have righted its fashion mix yet. Comp-store sales declined between 18 and 20 percent for January 2001, against a 24 to 26 percent increase last year.