Zimmer may seek return to Men’s Wearhouse
Fremont, Calif. – In another twist to the ongoing Men’s Wearhouse-George Zimmer saga, Reuters reports that Men’s Wearhouse founder and former executive chairman Zimmer is contemplating trying to recapture his position as executive chairman through such means as a buyout attempt with private equity backing or rallying the support of shareholders. Neither Zimmer nor Men’s Wearhouse has officially commented, but Zimmer is reportedly consulting advisers, including his legal counsel, Cooley LLP. Zimmer resigned his position on the retailer’s board of directors yesterday.
The board of directors of Men’s Wearhouse also is offering new comments about its recent decision to terminate Zimmer on June 19. In an official statement, the board said terminating Zimmer was not intended to hurt him, but to protect the best interest of Men’s Wearhouse and its shareholders and employees.
"Mr. Zimmer had difficulty accepting the fact that Men’s Wearhouse is a public company with an independent board of directors and that he has not been the CEO for two years,” said a statement attributed to the board of directors. “He advocated for significant changes that would enable him to regain control, but ultimately he was unable to convince any of the board members or senior executives that his positions were in the best interests of employees, shareholders or the company’s future.”
The board cited specific issues of contention with Zimmer, including refusal to support CEO Doug Ewert and other members of the management team, demand for veto power over executive compensation, objection to a previously agreed upon review of strategic alternatives for K&G and support of selling the company to an investment group against the wishes of the rest of the board. Men’s Wearhouse also said that Zimmer left them no options other than giving him full control of the company or terminating him.
Advance Auto Parts names CIO
Roanoke, Va. — Advance Auto Parts has promoted Donna Justiss to the position of senior VP and chief information officer. Justiss will be responsible for the strategic leadership of all aspects of Advance’s information technology area, including application development and support, infrastructure and information security.
Justiss joined Advance is December 2005 and has held a number of IT VP roles with the company, including serving as interim chief information officer since September 2012. Prior to joining Advance, Justiss was with Eckerd Corporation for seven years where she held several information technology positions, including serving as VP, application development.
Prior to Eckerd, she spent 19 years with J.C. Penney Company, where she served in various information technology and accounting roles.
A.T. Kearney: China top market for expansion by apparel retailers
China — China once again topped the A.T. Kearney’s 2013 Retail Apparel Index, which measures the market readiness of developing economies for international apparel retailers to enter. Other compelling expansion opportunities are offered by a number of countries from Latin America and the Middle East.
According to the Index, which identifies the top 10 developing countries ranked in the A.T. Kearney Global Retail Development Index in terms of market attractiveness, retail development, and country risk for clothing retail, China’s strong showing is due to its market size and strong growth in clothing sales. The rise of e-commerce, a boom in fast fashion, and the evolution of the luxury market have all shaped China’s apparel market.
“In most emerging markets, e-commerce is less than one percent of total sales: in China, it is six percent which is higher than in the United States,” noted Althea Peng, A.T. Kearney partner and study co-author. “More than three-quarters of online sales in China are in apparel.”
Over the last year several fast fashion retailers have aggressively expanded in China, according to the report, including Uniqlo. The Japanese retailer opened 65 stores in China in fiscal year 2012, bringing its total count to 145, and it plans to add 100 stores a year to reach 1,000 stores. H&M opened 52 stores in 2012 and Zara opened 37 stores. Gap has plans to open 35 stores in 2013.
Latin America makes a prominent showing in the Apparel Index, led by Chile (#3), Brazil (#5), and Mexico (#9). Apparel retailers have aggressive expansion plans for the region. Gap, which currently has 36 Latin American stores (including 28 in Mexico and four in Chile), plans to open 30 more by 2014, including its first Brazilian store in 2013. Zara has 150 stores in Latin America (56 of which are in Mexico, and 39 in Brazil), including 12 new stores built in 2012, the report said.
The Middle East remains an attractive retail apparel market with the United Arab Emirates (UAE, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia (#6) respectively ranking 2nd, 4th and 6th place in the Index. Many retailers are testing their operations in the UAE before expanding to other Middle East countries due to its ease of doing business, sizeable retail segment, large expat community, and tourism.
The top 10 developing markets for expansion by apparel retailers are:
- Saudi Arabia
To read the full 2012 GRDI Report that includes the 2013 Apparel Index, go to grdi.atkearney.com.