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Joe Fresh Founder Steps Down

Joe Mimran has handed over the reins of Joe Fresh to the Canadian company’s current president, Mario Grauso. The 62-year-old style maven, who launched his namesake line of cheap-and-cheerful threads in 2006, made the announcement Monday.

“As I step back from my day-to-day responsibilities, I’m happy to pass the baton to Mario and his team—experienced hands committed to our shared vision,” Mimran told the Financial Post. “I look forward to seeing the continued growth of Joe Fresh as we introduce this iconic Canadian brand to new markets and customers around the globe.”

Owned by food retailer Loblaw Cos. Ltd., Joe Fresh has more than 340 stores across Canada, most of them located inside grocery stores. It crossed the border into the U.S. in 2011 when it opened the first of six stores in New York City. Two years later it partnered with J.C. Penney to introduce 683 shop-in-shops across the country, but has since scaled back to 200.

Grauso has been groomed for the top position since he joined Joe Fresh as chief operating officer in 2013 and was promoted to president last July. Since he came aboard, the retailer has expanded into South Korea and Saudi Arabia, and Mexico, Central America, Africa and Europe are markets slated for future growth as part of a plan to open 140 Joe Fresh outlets in 23 countries within four years.

Mimran leaves behind a management team that includes Henriette Ernst, a veteran of Calvin Klein, Celine and Jil Sander, as head of women’s design; Jose Abellar, formerly of Old Navy, will lead men’s design, merchandising and product development; and Ian Freedman as chief operating officer. Grauso has vowed to retain the branding, aesthetic and price point that helped the Joe Fresh become the No. 2 private label apparel line in Canada.