Hudson’s Bay Company’s fates have been scattered this year with failed attempts at acquiring Macy’s and Neiman Marcus, activist investor pressure and a company-wide restructuring that cost 2,000 jobs.
This latest chapter for Hudson’s Bay, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor and Gilt’s owner sees CEO Gerald Storch leaving after just under three years in the job. The move becomes effective on Nov. 1, when governor and executive chairman Richard Baker will step in while the company searches for a new permanent CEO.
For Baker, it’s a return to the post he held before Storch was brought on in 2015. In the retailer’s press statement, Baker said, “The Board and I are grateful for Jerry’s contributions over the past three years, including enhancing our all-channel strategies, recruiting key talent, leading our cost cutting efforts, and working to address the challenges for our banners in the fast-evolving retail environment. We thank Jerry and wish him the best.”
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Prior to joining HBC, Storch was chief executive at Toys R Us and vice chairman of Target, where he founded that retailer’s online business.
“HBC has a long, successful history, with talented people, assets, geographic reach and digital infrastructure. I have great confidence in the Company and the Executive Leadership Team’s ability to take the right actions to position HBC for leadership in the retail industry as it evolves into the future,” he said. “I’m looking forward to returning to my advisory firm to work with a range of companies during this transformational time for the retail industry.”
Storch’s departure comes as the company is restructuring its business to better deal with the changing retail environment. To focus on the needs of each, HBC announced in June that it would create two leadership teams, one for its Canadian business and another for Lord & Taylor. The changes include more centralized store operations, streamlined digital and IT teams and a flatter organization.
Through streamlining operations, increasing efficiencies and leveraging scale, the company currently anticipates realizing more than 350 million Canadian dollars ($286.41 million) in annual savings when the plan is fully implemented by the end of fiscal 2018, including the anticipated 75 million Canadian dollars ($61.37 million) in annual savings announced in February.
Last month, the retail group announced sweeping changes with its Gilt business, changing the focus from strictly a flash sale site and integrating it with Saks Off 5th its off-price concept both online and off.