J. Crew Names Retail Veteran as New CFO

Michael Nicholson takes over as finance chief as the retailer works to correct operational missteps that have hurt sales.
Katie Kuehner-HebertDecember 4, 2015

After posting a third-quarter loss, J. Crew Group has appointed retail veteran Michael J. Nicholson as its new CFO, filling a position that has been vacant for nearly a year.

Since Stuart Haselden stepped down in January to join Lulemon, Joan Durkin has been serving as acting CFO at J. Crew. Nicholson, most recently CFO at Ann Taylor, will take over Jan. 11.

“Mike has deep experience across the retail industry and we welcome him to the company in this critical role as we move forward with our strategic initiatives, sharpen our execution, and build opportunities for profitable growth,” J. Crew chief executive Millard “Mickey” Drexler said in a news release.

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Nicholson’s appointment indicates J. Crew is working to correct some operational missteps that have hurt sales and contributed to losses, according to Bloomberg.

“The retailer has suffered from putting the wrong styles in stores, and the fit and prices of its apparel hasn’t appealed to shoppers,” Bloomberg said. “Compounding those mistakes, foot traffic at malls has been steadily declining. That’s forced J. Crew to increase discounts to compete and clear out excess products.”

J. Crew’s same-stores sales have declined in six out of the last seven quarters.

Nicholson’s past experience also includes spent seven years at Limited Brands, where he held executive positions including chief operating officer and CFO for Victoria’s Secret.  Earlier in his career, he worked at Colgate Palmolive and Altria Group.

“I have been a long-time admirer of J.Crew,” Nicholson said. “I look forward to partnering with Mickey and helping the company realize the full potential of both J.Crew and Madewell while delivering profitable growth across all channels.”

Separately, the company posted a third-quarter loss of $757.9 million, compared with a loss of $607.8 million a year earlier. Total revenue fell 6%, to $619.4 million.