Drama at J. Crew headquarters: lead designer fired, 175 terminated

Drama at J. Crew headquarters: lead designer fired, 175 terminated

Terrible first quarter sales has led J. Crew Group to go through a major reshuffling, and a lot of firings.

J. Crew is giving its lead designed the boot and firing 175 employees at its New York headquarters after an awful start to the year.

The big reorganization within J. Crew Group, which employs 15,600 associates in 512 stores globally, happened after sales figures showed a 5 percent drop compared to the first quarter of last year, resulting in 175 employees getting pinks lips and its top designer, Tom Mora, getting kicked out the door, according to a CNN Money report.

The company said it would be making some “strategic and organizational changes” focused in the areas of operations, merchandising, sourcing, and production, but did not give many details on what those changes would be. The sales figures did come up in an earnings call last week, and J. Crew Group CEO Mickey Drexler indicated that he thinks the aesthetic of J. Crew needs an update, and that it may be necessary to expand on the women-focused brand Madewell as well as some J. Crew factory outlet stores to help boost sales.

Madewell was one bright spot for the company, posting a 33 percent sales increase, although it only makes up 11 percent of the company’s revenue with 88 stores.

The Madewell success is driving much of the change, especially with J. Crew Group’s announcement that Somsack Sikhounmuong, who was the driving force in Madewell’s design, will replace Mora as J. Crew’s top designer. Taking the place of Sikhounmuong will be Joyce Lee, who was previously a designer with Michael Kors.


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