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  • INDUSTRY NEWS

    • On January 19, 2021, it was reported, Christopher & Banks filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after protracted demand declines among its customer base in 2020 and defaults on major financial obligations earlier this month. The women's apparel seller said in a press release that it plans to close "a significant portion, if not all, of its brick-and-mortar stores." It has hired Hilco Merchant Resources to run liquidation sales at all 449 stores, according to court documents. While it prepares to exit brick-and-mortar, Christopher & Banks plans to sell its e-commerce unit in Chapter 11. The company is in "active discussion with potential buyers," it said in the release.
    • On January 14, 2021, Urban Outfitters reported dismal holiday sales and announced several management changes. The company announced that Trish Donnelly, CEO of the Urban Outfitters Group, will be leaving as of Jan. 31, to pursue a new career opportunity. She will be succeeded by Sheila Harrington, who will become CEO for both Urban Outfitters Group and Free People Group. "We thank Trish for her seven years of dedicated service to the company," said Richard A. Hayne, CEO, Urban Outfitters, Inc. "During her tenure she built a strong, talented team and the Urban brand grew revenues by over 10%." Additionally, Gabrielle Conforti, chief merchandising officer for the Urban Outfitters brand, has been promoted to president, Urban Outfitters North America. Emma Wisden will continue as managing director, Urban Outfitters Europe, and will lead the Urban Outfitters brand wholesale business. The retailer said that total company sales during the two-month holiday period (ended Dec. 21) fell 8.4% and comparable sales declined 9% amid pandemic-related declines in store traffic. By brand, sales were up 1% at Free People, down 8% at Urban Outfitters, and down 12% at Anthropologie. Wholesale net sales decreased 1%.
    • On January 11, 2021, Staples said it sent a letter to Office Depot's board of directors with a bid to take over its office supplies rival for $40 per share or $2.1 billion. Plans for Staples to acquire the company for triple that were thwarted by antitrust concerns in 2016. Staples' intention is to buy all of Office Depot's common stock in March if it doesn't reach a negotiated agreement, according to a press release from USR Parent, which is in effect Staples' parent entity, (although private equity firm Sycamore Partners has owned Staples since 2017). To avoid any antitrust snag this time, Staples is prepared to divest Office Depot's business-to-business operations "to a FTC approved and qualified buyer," per the release. Sycamore acquired Staples for $6.9 billion in 2017.
    • On January 11, 2021, LVMH Mot Hennessy Louis Vuitton announced the completed $15.8 billion acquisition of Tiffany & Co. and an immediate shakeup of the American jeweler's executive and creative leadership. Anthony Ledru, previously executive vice president of global commercial activities at Louis Vuitton and once a senior vice president of North America at Tiffany, has replaced Alessandro Bogliolo as CEO; Bogliolo will leave the company Jan. 22, according to a company press release. Alexandre Arnault, (son of LVMH chief Bernard Arnault), has left his post as CEO of LVMH-owned luggage brand Rimowa to lead Tiffany's product and communications. Louis Vuitton Chairman and CEO Michael Burke will chair Tiffany's board. Also leaving Tiffany are Chief Artistic Director Reed Krakoff and Chief Brand Officer Daniella Vitale.