Carrie Ask has assembled her team.
The president of the Men’s Wearhouse and Moores divisions of Tailored Brands Inc. today will announce three hires that are intended to drive the stores more profitably into the future. The two divisions have sales of around $2 billion and operate nearly 900 stores in the U.S. and Canada.
New to the team are Mary Ann McGrath, who has been named senior vice president and chief marketing officer; Jerry Brandehoff, senior vice president and general merchandise manager, and Sharmila Sudhakar, vice president, e-commerce.
Ask said this group of “proven and talented” professionals “have successfully transformed each of their respective business domains to drive significant profitable growth for leading companies. We look forward to benefiting from their experience and leadership as we transform our business to deliver an unparalleled customer experience through personalized products and services, inspiring and seamless experiences in and across every channel, and brands that stand for something more than just price.”
McGrath has more than 25 years of retail experience and served most recently as senior vice president of customer relationship marketing for Williams Sonoma, Williams Sonoma Home and West Elm. She has also worked at Gymboree, Escada and Saks Fifth Avenue. Frank Hamlin had been chief marketing officer for the company, but left last year.
Brandehoff was formerly executive vice president and gmm for adult and kids apparel for the North America retail division of Calvin Klein at PVH Corp. Before that, he was with Gap Inc., Williams Sonoma, Inc. and Gymboree Corp. He succeeds Scott Norris who left Men’s Wearhouse in late February.
Sudhakar most recently served as vice president and general manager for Walmart.com’s home decor business. Prior to that, she was vice president and general manager of growth marketing and e-commerce for Tile, a series C venture-backed smart-location company, where she led the direct-to-consumer business. This is a new position within the company.
Ask, who joined Tailored Brands in October, said she remains “bullish” on the growth prospects for Men’s Wearhouse and Moores, but knows it’s going to take a different strategy and lots of work.
“I really believe in this sector, but we need to transform the customer experience,” she said, adding that men today respond to an easier shopping experience, more digital content and storytelling.
Ask said that in order to find executives that had expertise in these areas as well as in brick-and-mortar, she felt it was necessary to look outside the current Men’s Wearhouse organization to reinforce its bench strength.
“We need to create a seamless experience in every channel, and each of these leaders has the opportunity to truly drive transactions and profitable growth,” she said.
McGrath said, “Today’s customers are more digitally connected than ever and expect more from a brand. I see a big opportunity to accelerate our ability to tell the stories of our brands in a more personal and relevant way and to reach our customers through the most appropriate channels. This modernized customer-centric approach will help us expand our brand reach and deepen customer loyalty.”
Brandehoff said his goal as chief merchant will be to “increasingly deliver on our customers’ demand for personalization through offerings such as custom clothing, and we will evolve our assortment to better reflect the way men are dressing today to ensure our brands express modern men’s wear style and leadership.”
And Sudhakar said with the rapid changes in the men’s market, customers are now “digitally connected,” and value “inspiration, personalization and convenience. I am looking forward to leading the transformation of our digital capabilities to create an omnichannel journey that delivers inspiration through a breadth of on-trend assortment and engaging content, and creates a seamless shopping experience for our customers.”
Tailored Brands has been undergoing a significant restructuring in the past year. In March, Dinesh Lathi was named chief executive officer, succeeding longtime chief Doug Ewert who retired last September. Lathi has been quite critical of former management, saying the company needs to change quickly, offer more personalized products and service, a better omnichannel experience and fewer promotions.
The struggles have also shown on the bottom line. In June, the Fremont, Calif.-based corporation reported net income for the first quarter fell to $7.1 million, from $13.9 million, a year earlier on a 4.5 percent decline in sales to $781.4 million from $818 million. On a comparable-store basis, sales also declined at each division, falling 4.5 percent at the flagship Men’s Wearhouse, 0.7 percent at Jos. A. Bank, 4.6 percent at Moores in Canada and 0.5 percent at K&G.
At the time of the earnings call in June, Lathi said the custom business continued to be strong, running at a $6 million-a-week pace in the first quarter after exceeding $220 million in 2018. And the “enhanced visual merchandising package” that has been installed in 80 stores so far is also paying dividends. That includes a more-elevated presentation, more graphics and mannequins and a reduction of stock on the floor.
The company will release second-quarter earnings on Sept. 11.
Despite the challenges, Ask said the company’s initial moves to home in more on “polished casual” merchandise, upgrade the store experience and enhance its omnichannel message have been positive. “We know we have a lot of work ahead of us, but we’re encouraged by the consumer response so far,” she said. “We’re feeling the momentum and now I have my team in place to take this forward.”