J Brand to shift towards direct distribution model, jobs to be cut

The Fast Retailing Group has announced a shakeup of the business model of its premium denim brand J Brand which will result in an undisclosed number of job cuts.

To be more precise, the company said it will launch a “strategic plan to rearticulate the business model” of the brand “and shift direction toward direct distribution”.

That means that from its summer 2021 collection onwards, LA-based J Brand will be distributed exclusively via select direct-to-consumer channels operated by the Fast Retailing Group.

The Japanese company, which also owns fast-fashion giant Uniqlo, said the LA-headquartered Fast Retailing Jeans Innovation Center (JIC), opened in 2016, “will continue to innovate sustainable, next-generation denim development and support denim production for Fast Retailing brands globally, including the future J Brand assortment”.

J Brand to face job cuts

As a result of this new business direction, the J Brand workforce will be reduced in the coming months “in proportion to the needs of a redefined corporate structure”, Fast Retailing said.

Kazumi Yanai, J Brand chairman and group senior executive officer of Fast Retailing, said in a statement that the US label’s current business model “is not aligned with the vision we have for its future success”. He continued: “This change in direction will bring energy and focus back to a celebrated denim brand in what has become an increasingly saturated marketplace.”

Yanai also underscored the company’s commitment to J Brand going forward, as well as the broader denim category in general.

“The reality of the denim market today and our ability to figure in it significantly depends on our ability to react and adapt quickly - not only to the marketplace, but also to the changing needs of our customers,” he said.

“Ultimately, I believe J Brand will be best served by a streamlined operation, a sharper distribution network and a greater focus on the dynamic lifestyle of the end customer. Fast Retailing's global concept of LifeWear has never been more relevant to us.”

Photo credit: J Brand, Facebook

 

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