William L. McComb, the new chief executive officer at Liz Claiborne, arrived on the scene from J&J eight months ago. He is both a marketer and shrewd business person. Liz Claiborne had become so bloated, after a slew of acquisitions that it lost its drive and focus. Enter Mr. McComb.
According to the New York Times, Mr. McCombs, shortly after arriving, sent out a missive to 200 senior Claiborne managers asking them to identify their biggest business impediments. The problems identified were two: bureaucracy and lack of design.
His solution? He has jettisoned a number of lesser performing brands, reduced bureaucracy, dialed up design and marketing spending and has taken control of distribution by planning to open hundreds of stores dedicated to key keeper brands: Juicy Couture, Kate Spade, Lucky Brands and Mexx.
The kicker in all of this is that during Mr. McCombs initial planning, Macy’s decided to cut Liz Claiborne orders significantly because Claiborne decided to private label a clothing line for J.C. Penney. This fortuitous indiscretion on Claiborne’s part may have put them over the top in deciding to take control back of all 4 Ps.
Liz Claiborne and the fittest surviving brands are going places.