US women’s wear retailer Chico’s FAS has announced a series of actions to improve performance at it namesake brand, including the departure of brand president Diane Ellis and an increase in more “classic” merchandise.
The ‘brand performance improvement plan’ follows a brand refresh in February, which saw merchandise and marketing heavily weighted to boho styles, bold colours, and original artisanal prints.
“The company has determined that this shift was successful in attracting new customers and in reactivating some customers who aspired to the brand’s heritage,” Chico’s says. “However, there was not enough depth in clean, classic polished silhouettes or in basics and top key items to appeal to the brand’s more polished and traditional customers.”
As a result, the group has implemented a series of actions it hopes will boost performance at the brand. These include the departure of brand president Diane Ellis who will leave the company tomorrow (30 November). CEO and president Shelley Broader will step into the role on an interim basis.
The news comes as the retailer separately reported a “mixed” brand performance in the third quarter, which saw sales at the Chico brand come in below expectations. For the 13 weeks to 3 November, the retailer’s total net sales slipped 6.1% to US$499.9m from $532.3m the year before.
“We are committed to improving the performance of our Chico’s brand, and we believe this leadership transition and the merchandising and marketing changes underway are necessary to reinvigorate broad-based consumer excitement and growth for the brand,” Broader said.
In addition, the retailer has adjusted the spring assortments to appropriately balance its merchandise architecture, reducing planned receipts and chasing more classic merchandise that is performing well.
It has also repositioned its marketing to be more inclusive of all customers, and adjusted planning and allocation strategies to improve in-stock and stronger penetration in basics and top key items.