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Saks Grew Slightly Under Marigay McKee, But Its Off 5th Outlets Really Took Off

McKee left the company just last week after only 15 months. Here's how the company fared during her time at the helm.
Former Saks president Marigay McKee. Photo: Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

Former Saks president Marigay McKee. Photo: Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

It came as something of a surprise last Thursday when Saks Fifth Avenue announced that Marigay McKee was out after just 15 months in her role as president. On Tuesday, Saks owner Hudson's Bay Company released its 2014 financial report, giving us some insight into how the luxury department store fared during McKee's tenure — not that a full year is really enough time for an exec to make magic out of a big retail business.

While sales at the luxury department store increased only marginally — 2.1 percent for stores that were around at the same time last year — its outlet offshoot, Saks Off 5th, bounded forward by 15.1 percent. (As execs at Vince pointed out just last month, a lot of department stores are focusing their expansion efforts on off-price locations; clearly, they're doing it for a reason.) According to the executive team, Saks is winning with designer clothing, menswear and accessories, while women's ready-to-wear is kind of a struggle. That said, it noted that the buyers are seeing a lot of good product coming out now, so perhaps women's sales will improve somewhat in the coming months.

Although its own sales weren't through the roof, Saks contributed to a massive sales lift for Hudson's Bay Company in 2014, with revenue growing 56.4 percent to $8.2 billion. That's because Hudson's Bay acquired Saks in late 2013, meaning this was the first full year that it benefited from Saks and Off 5th's business. So don't expect that same kind growth from here on out.

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Now that Saks is under the leadership of new President Marc Metrick, who has been with Hudson's Bay since 2012, we'll be watching to see what he's got.