J.Crew has named Jan Singer to the position of CEO, effective Feb. 2. Singer brings 25 years of retail experience to the role, most recently as CEO of Victoria’s Secret, where she served for two years before stepping down in November 2018.
Singer will join the retailer’s Board of Directors and assume responsibility for all aspects of the J.Crew and J.Crew Factory businesses. Interim CEO Michael Nicholson will return to his previous role of President and COO, while Libby Wadle will continue as President and CEO of Madewell, which will be spun off as its own company in Q1 2020.
J.Crew is in the midst of a turnaround effort that has provided mixed results: same-store sales were flat and total sales decreased 4% to $415.8 million in Q3 2019, compared to a 4% increase in same-store sales in Q3 2018. However, Madewell has continued to be J.Crew’s biggest success story, posting a 13% sales increase to $151.6 million, with same-store sales up 10%.
Singer will seek to build J.Crew’s upward momentum by drawing on her experience at Victoria’s Secret, as well as time spent at both Spanx, where she served as CEO, and Nike, where she led the global footwear and apparel teams. She was responsible for several apparel innovations at Nike, including Nike Seamless, Nike AeroLoft and Nike Tech Fleece.
“Jan’s appointment as CEO is an important milestone for our company,” said Nicholson in a statement. “I am proud of the way the teams came together in 2019 with a renewed focus on restoring profitability at the J.Crew brand, and our results reflected encouraging momentum led by strong gross margin performance and the accelerated benefits of our multi-year cost optimization program. With these key building blocks in place, it is an opportune time for J.Crew to bring on a leader with a proven track record in positioning brands for success.”