Strategic review and team consolidation post- merger in PE backed fashion business
Created from the merger of profitable Jacques Vert plc and the loss- making Alexon Group, I joined the turnaround business Style Group brands as Trading Director a year after it was formed. It was a turnaround with a stable of brands targeting the more mature woman. The challenge was take out £5m cost and improve trading profitability, whilst broadening the appeal of the product to reach more customers.
I reviewed the team of 140 across Buying, Design, Sourcing, Production and Merchandising working at two sites and rationalised the team into one with a new structure with £1.0m of cost savings but some key hires to strengthen design and Merchandising capability. I also led the sourcing plan to deliver £1.5m of savings through supply base rationalisation and an end to end review.
£1.5m of savings delivered
As a member of the board, I input into the strategy to reduce the brand portfolio, focusing on the most profitable, particularly Jacques Vert. The development of Jacques Vert was very successful, delivering strong LFL growth and winning new concession space in stores.
From a channel perspective, the business was overly reliant on concessions in department stores. I instigated a review of the successful Canadian business which identified issues on stock timing, appropriateness of product (particularly outerwear) and pricing to the market. Clear accountability and focus internally led to a 20% sales swing and profit growth. I brought in a new head for the Outlets business and grew the bought in proportion of stock to 50% participation to create a net contribution.
Ultimately the business was overly reliant on the department store sector and wasn’t able to develop other channels quickly enough to survive.