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J. Crew taps former Victoria’s Secret exec amid retail struggles

Jeanette Settembre

Struggling retailer J. Crew is taking a page from Victoria’s Secret’s playbook.

The New York-based clothing company known for its cashmere crewnecks and khakis appointed Jan Singer, a former chief executive of Victoria’s Secret’s lingerie division, as its CEO in an effort to revive the preppy brand's plummeting retail sales, J. Crew announced Tuesday.

Singer has been credited with steering Victoria’s Secret away from its sex appeal and becoming more inclusive in its bra styles and sizes to cater to consumer comfort. She left the company in 2018, and served as the CEO of Spanx Inc., and she led the global footwear and apparel teams at Nike.

“I'm excited and honored to join this iconic brand and team at such an important time," Singer said in a statement. "My passion for developing product, brand experiences and teams feels very at home at J.Crew. It's a beloved brand that has always been in my heart and, like millions of consumers, in my closet."

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Once a fashionable mainstay at malls across America, J. Crew, like many clothing retailers, has faced increased competition from online retailers, like Amazon. The retailer, which has about $1.8 billion in annual sales and nearly 200 stores, also had rocky leadership after Millard Drexler, its former chief executive, stepped down in 2017. Former West Elm president, James Brett, took over briefly but left in 2018. Michael J. Nicholson, J. Crew’s chief operating officer, stepped in last April.

CLOTHING RETAILER J. CREW'S CHIEF EXECUTIVE IS STEPPING DOWN

J. Crew was once a symbol for the successful working American woman. Former First Lady Michelle Obama elevated the brand’s cachet in its ruffled blouses and cardigan sweaters. And Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton has also worn the brand's mock neck sweaters and cargo jackets.

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