- Luxury apparel retailer Vince on Monday announced the appointment of Jack Schwefel as CEO effective March 29, according to a company press release.
- Schwefel will replace David Stefko, who has served as interim CEO since August 2020. Stefko will continue to serve the company as CFO.
- Schwefel most recently was CEO of Cost Plus. Prior to that, he was the CEO of Dutch Fashion, CEO of Sur La Table and held senior management positions at Gap, Esprit, Kohl's and Toys R Us.
Vince is bringing on a new CEO at a critical time for luxury apparel.
The pandemic shifted clothing trends, as people shied away from events and many employees suddenly found themselves working from home. Instead of donning officewear, consumers found themselves reaching for athleisure and comfortable clothes. The entire sector plummeted last spring as nonessential retailers temporarily shut their doors in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The pairing of shifting consumer trends along with racing to make up for lost physical retail sales meant that many retailers took a hit to earnings in 2020. Vince, which runs its namesake brand, Rebecca Taylor and Parker, was no exception.
In its Q3 earnings, total company net sales for the quarter decreased 34% year over year to $69 million, compared to $104.5 million in the year-ago period. The company's namesake brand saw net sales decrease 28.7% to $61.6 million, and Rebecca Taylor and Parker's combined net sales decreased nearly 59% to $7.5 million year over year.
The luxury conglomerate was included on a list of retailers that could go bankrupt by Retail Dive this past fall. The retailer also was recently named on S&P Global Market Intelligence's list of most vulnerable retailers, which stated that the company has a 14.7% chance of default. The company also made the same S&P list of most vulnerable department store and apparel companies in February 2020.
In a January 2021 management presentation, the conglomerate spelled out a strategic growth initiative, which in the short term includes fueling e-commerce growth, enhancing customer experience and expanding its real estate presence in under-penetrated markets. Over the long term the company is eyeing international expansion.
Vince in Q3 launched inclusive sizing, offering up to size 24 on its namesake website and through Nordstrom online, in an effort to develop a "more inclusive line and a more inclusive community," according to interim CEO Stefko in an earnings call in December.
The company also identified "potential future opportunities" in categories including home, intimates, fragrance and cold-weather accessories and expects to open up to three Vince stores annually.