Naked Brand Group strikes out in revised strategic direction with new CEO
Following a global strategic review, Sydney-based intimates and swimwear company Naked Brand Group Limited announced on Wednesday that it has appointed Anna Johnson, the former EGM of its wholly owned Bendon subsidiary, as its new CEO.
Johnson brings 25 years of experience in a wide range of industries to her new position, having first joined Bendon as EGM in 2012, before leaving to become EGM of operations at New Zealand’s largest retail conglomerate The Warehouse Group in 2017.
During her first stint at Bendon, Johnson led the company’s retail channel, achieving sequential 30% plus returns from a number of women’s categories.
The executive has also previously served as GM at the New Zealand territory and franchisee with Australian retailer Harvey Norman.
She succeeds Justin Davis-Rice, who has now been named as Naked’s executive chairman.
“Anna, who has been successfully implementing our strategic plan within Bendon for the past five months, has a proven track record of restructuring and transforming established businesses in the consumer sector and we believe her role as CEO of Naked will amplify our new strategic direction,” said Davis-Rice in a release. “[Her] appointment to CEO marks a new growth plan for the company that is well underway, and we look forward to providing a full update on our progress in the weeks to come.”
Having recently received strategic financing and completed a process of debt restructuring with its key manufacturing partners, Naked Brand Group also revealed a new growth plan to ensure the company’s profitability moving forward.
The group announced that, as part of this plan, which aims to achieve an aggregate of $6.5 million in cost savings, it has already abandoned unprofitable channels in the UK and EU, as well as select independent channels in Australia and New Zealand. The Naked brand will, however, continue to be sold in the UK and EU via key accounts with retailers such as Selfridges and Outnet.
The company has also downsized its offices in Sydney, Hong Kong and the US.
Looking forward, the Naked brand is expected to complete its full integration into the group’s portfolio, which also includes the Bendon, Pleasure State and Heidi Klum Intimates labels, by May of this year, a process which has already resulted in $1.5 million in annualized cost savings.
Furthermore, Naked Brand Group is now attempting to manoeuvre in order to support the growth of its direct-to-customer model, which includes its 66 company-owned stores and its wholesale clients, while also refocusing its marketing strategy in order to be more inclusive, thereby appealing more effectively to both new and existing customers.
“We are very grateful for the shareholder support during what has been a challenging period,” stated Johnson. “We have worked diligently to put all the pieces together that now give the company a clear line of sight to a resumption of revenue growth in 2019.”
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