Lands' End Hires CEO From Dolce & Gabbana

Can Dolce & Gabbana U.S. president lend the casual retailer some high-fashion edge?
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Chantal Fernandez
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Can Dolce & Gabbana U.S. president lend the casual retailer some high-fashion edge?
Federica Marchionni is Land's End's new CEO. Photo: Land's End

Federica Marchionni is Land's End's new CEO. Photo: Land's End

On Monday, Lands' End -- the casual/preppy American retailer often associated with its mail-order catalogs -- announced that Federica Marchionni, Dolce & Gabbana's U.S. president, will be the company's next CEO. Marchionni joined the Italian brand in 2001 as a global group director and became president in 2011. 

"She is a multi-talented, visionary business leader with a complete set of creative, strategic and analytical skills to grow a multi-channel apparel brand in a highly competitive and evolving global environment," said Josephine Linden, chairman of the board, in a statement. "She also fully embraces the principles of quality, value and service on which Gary Comer founded Lands' End in 1963. We are confident she will build upon the Company's legacy as a classic American brand with a keen eye toward its future as a global lifestyle brand."

The current CEO, Edgar Huber, is resigning at the company after almost four years. "With the successful completion of the spin-off of Lands' End from Sears Holdings Corporation, I have accomplished what I came to achieve at Lands' End and I look forward to the Company's success in the future," he said in a statement.

In truth, the spin-off of Lands' End from Sears -- which Sears bought for $1.9 billion 2002 -- was not so smooth. The 50 year-old preppy American retailer hoped leaving the struggling department store conglomerate would increase business, but merchandise sales and services decreased 2.8 percent to $373.1 million in the third quarter of 2014 compared to 2013, due to a 1.2 percent decrease in direct sales and an 11.5 percent decrease in retail sales. 

The board is hoping Marchionni's luxury experience will revitalize Lands' End. The company's statement calls out her experience overseeing the opening of major D&G stores across the country, including the New York City flagship. With only 14 freestanding stores and a decreasing amount of floorspace at Sears, it's reasonable to speculate that more retail locations are in store for Land End's future.