NEW YORK — Like a sweater in the dryer, J. Crew has shrunk.
The apparel company slashed 175 positions at its Manhattan headquarters on Wednesday, according to a J. Crew press release. Fashion site Racked, which first reported the news, said the layoffs hit 10 percent of the staff there. Company spokeswoman Margot Fooshee told The Huffington Post that the layoffs affected a combination of current employees and open positions.
“We are making meaningful and strategic changes across our organization to better position us for future growth,” J. Crew chairman and CEO Millard Drexler said in a statement. “While many of these decisions were difficult, they are necessary.”
Pink-slipped employees were escorted from the 770 Broadway location in the East Village, according to Racked. The Huffington Post, AOL (our parent company) and Facebook also have offices in that building.
The move follows what Drexler called in March “a lousy year” for J.Crew’s women’s clothing business. The chief culprit: sweaters.
“The lion’s share of our women’s issue is isolated to knits and sweaters, which has been an outsize portion of our business,” Drexler said on a conference call with analysts last week.
Stores stocked too few of the popular Tippi sweater and too many of the Tilly, a cardigan Drexler said “didn’t fit that well.”
“One-third of our business is a mix of both knits and sweaters,” Drexler said on the call. “The amount of the business is big enough to impact the negative comps in the company.”
Earlier this year, J. Crew reshuffled its top ranks as Chief Operating Officer James Scully departed just three weeks after Stuart C. Haselden, the chief financial officer, left to join Lululemon.
“We just made mistakes and we clearly got sloppy,” Drexler said.
This post has been updated with a comment from J. Crew spokeswoman Margot Fooshee.
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