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Chief Merchandising Officer at Express Let Go

Malissa Akay has left the apparel retailer effective immediately, a regulatory filing reports




Credit: Antoinne Bootz, New York

Malissa Akay, Chief Merchandising Officer at Express (Columbus, Ohio), has exited the company, Retail Dive reports. Akay’s departure was disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission regulatory filing on Friday. The move is part of the company’s previously announced expense reduction initiative and it was effective immediately, the online retail news service said.

Akay joined Express in September 2019 as Executive VP and Chief Merchandising Officer, overseeing men’s and women’s design and merchandising as well as product and merchandising strategy across Express and Express Factory Lane. Akay’s career also includes stops at Lane Bryant, Ralph Lauren and DFS Group, which is majority held by LVMH.

Express’ ongoing struggles are reflected in its most recent reporting period, in May. For that time, the retailer reported a net loss of $73.4 million and an operating loss of $70.1 million. Comp sales for the quarter also fell 14 percent. In its first-quarter earnings announcement, Express said it’s “taking aggressive action to reduce expenses and improve the operating efficiency of its business. In January, the company disclosed $40 million in annualized expense reductions versus 2022 prior to the impact of inflation and since that time, it has already identified and implemented an additional $25 million to be realized in 2023.”

Express and WHP Global (New York), a retail investment and brand management company, have an intellectual property joint venture, under which WHP owns 60 percent and Express owns 40 percent. In addition to Express, which has about 500 stores, other brands in the company’s portfolio include the recently acquired Bonobos and Toys “R” Us.



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