David Bassuk is ending his two-month stint as co-president of the Juicy Couture division of Liz Claiborne and returning to Alix Partners. Before moving to the co-presidency, Bassuk served as a consultant to Juicy Couture, a role he will be resuming. Bassuk also served as CEO of the label, and was responsible for overseeing finance, operations, wholesale sales, planning, and other aspects of the business alongside co-president LeAnn Nealz.
Juicy Couture has struggled to move beyond its signature velour track suits, which have fallen out of fashion. Sales for the Juicy fell 4.4% in the first quarter, against rising revenues in the two other main Liz Claiborne divisions, Lucky Jeans and Kate Spade. Liz Claiborne has sold off many units in the last two years, including its namesake brand to JC Penney in 2011, Monet, and the Kensie brand. The transactions generated $328 million but led to reductions in profits and overall revenue, as the company contracted.
Liz Claiborne posted a loss of $60.6 million in the first quarter, against net sales of $317 million. Gross margin rose from 53.3% to 56.5%. Their debt was recently upgraded from junk status by the S&P. The company is shifting away from serving department stores to engaging in direct-to-consumer marketing, and is rebranding itself in May as Fifth & Pacific Companies.
At Alix Partners, Bassuk was head of global retail practice, focusing on strategic and operational turnarounds. He was brought on to help revive Juicy, and is expected to continue working on that goal, but in a role that is cheaper for the label and more dynamic for Bassuk. According to recent statements, the company does not intend to immediately appoint a new co-president, and the role had been vacant for some time prior to Bassuk’s ascension.