HBC on Tuesday announced that Alison Coville will step down as President of Hudson’s Bay and Home Outfitters, effective March 1.
The company has retained an executive search firm to recruit her replacement, according to a press release. In the interim, the Hudson’s Bay department store chain will be led by executives from the HBC team, under the direction of CEO Helena Foulkes, the company also said.
HBC last week shut down its Home Outfitters unit.
HBC runs North American retailers Saks Fifth Avenue, Hudson's Bay, Lord & Taylor and off-price retailer Saks OFF 5TH, and has kept a close eye on its real estate strategy.
In an era when many players operate too many stores, closures are likely important for both retail and real estate considerations. Along with the wind-down of its Home Outfitters unit, HBC is evaluating its off-price Saks OFF 5th fleet, with plans to close as many as 20 of its 133 locations, the company said last week.
As a department store chain, the Hudson's Bay Co. flagship represents a model that has been under considerable pressure in recent years. In a statement on Tuesday, HBC CEO Helena Foulkes said the retailer's "go-forward plan" aims to improve performance by upgrading its service model, digital experience and merchandise assortment. Whoever takes over for Coville will get that assignment.
The Canadian retailer could look south to see how its American counterparts have attempted to revamp the mold. Both Nordstrom and Macy's have invested in cutting edge retail concepts and moved to improve their assortments by tying up with emerging brands, including some DTC players. But both are still struggling to hang on to growth as mall traffic continues to ebb and shoppers seem to have little use for sprawling department store spaces.
But in a statement, Foulkes expressed confidence in the centuries-old retailer. "With a proud Canadian heritage and national footprint, Hudson’s Bay has a right to win in the marketplace and there is a tremendous opportunity to build on our strength as the country’s preeminent multi-category retailer," she said.