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Jaeger boss steps down in the middle of five-year turnaround plan


Colin Henry has stepped down as CEO of British fashion label Jaeger, only two years into his five-year turnaround strategy.

Today Better Capital announced that Henry had left the company, just days after it was revealed the former boss had taken a ‘leave of absence’, with no plausible explanation. In a statement Henry said:

“I have enjoyed the challenge of the Jaeger turnaround and feel that now is the right time to move on to a new opportunity. I would like to thank all the staff at Jaeger for their hard work and wish them and Better Capital all success as they continue on the journey.”

When Henry was drafted into the upmarket retailer, back in June 2013, he hatched a gameplan to turn the losses into profits. His strategy focused on re-engaging with the core customer, a 40-65 year old affluent female, otherwise known as ‘Mrs Jaeger’.

His vision was to draw on the brand’s core heritage, thus eliminating loss-making subrands Jaeger London and Boutique and quadrupling marketing investment to £8m.

According to Sky News, the company is yet to line up a successor and it is unlikely that one will be appointed before the end of the crucial Christmas period.

In January, Henry said he was "pleased with the progress we have made during the (Christmas) period.

Whilst we are still in the early stages of our five year turnaround, the improved performance from Jaeger Online and at our new concept stores shows our strategy is paying off.

The consumer environment remains challenging, and there is still a lot of work to do transforming our store portfolio, building the brand and refining our online and in-store offer."

But in July, Better Capital cited Jaeger’s trading as continually “difficult”, adding that "The business held too much 'Autumn/Winter 2014' stock which had to be sold through the outlet stores at lower margins. Operationally there is still much to go for.

As part of the planning for 2015/ 2016, several initiatives have been put in place to move the business significantly further forward.

These include better stock allocation across main standalone stores and concessions, improved staffing and sales management across stores, and further improvements in product fit and style range all to achieve higher net overall margin."

Even without a chief exec, it will be imperative at this time that the premium retailer doesn’t forget to connect with ‘Mrs Jaeger.

Published on Monday 14 September by Veebs Sabharwal

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