Daniel Bracken joins Specialty Fashion Group as CEO

Former Myer chief merchandise and customer officer joins owner of Millers, Katies, Crossroads, Rivers, City Chic and Autograph

Daniel Bracken
Daniel Bracken

Former Myer deputy MD and chief marketing and merchandising officer, Daniel Bracken, has re-emerged as the new CEO and managing director of Specialty Fashion Group, owner of brands including Millers, Katies, Rivers and Crossroads.

News of his appointment came as the ASX-listed retailer reported a 7.7 per cent dip in half-yearly revenue to $399 million, and underlying EBITDA of $18.5m.

Bracken was most recently deputy CEO and chief merchandise and customer officer at Myer, overseeing merchandise buying, design, sourcing and manufacturing and leading the Myer brand strategy. He initially joined as marketing chief before becoming chief merchandising and customer officer in May 2016, and gaining the deputy MD shortly after that.

Bracken left Myer in July amid ongoing tough retail trading conditions for the department store.

Prior to this, he was CEO of The Apparel Group, which owns Saba, Sportscraft and Willow. Bracken’s resume also includes a variety of roles at Burberry London including VP of strategy, and commercial and operations director of menswear.

In a statement, SFG chairman, Anne McDonald, said the board had been looking for strong senior credentials in fashion merchandising, supply chain, customer experience and staff engagement as well as building and leading a customer-led culture. SFG’s portfolio encompasses City Chic, Autograph, Millers, Katies, Crossroads and Rivers.

“Daniel brings passion, energy and deep experience developing successful apparel brands, reinvigorating merchandising strategies, and leading the transformation of retail businesses facing structural, cyclical and competitive challenges,” she said.

Bracken will be tasked with the next phase of the company’s redevelopment, including leading an ongoing structural review to improve shareholder value, McDonald said.

Commenting on his appointment, Bracken said he was looking forward to working with the team on the ongoing transformation of the business.

“SFG has a range of customers in the lifestyle as well as mature and plus-sized segments of the apparel market that fashion too often overlooks,” he said. “I am energised by the opportunity to harness the power clothing has to influence how you feel about yourself and accelerate the work underway to achieve the company’s aspirational purpose: To change the perception of fashion.”

Bracken takes up the reins from 12 February and is based in Sydney.

Meanwhile, the overall group had a mixed half-year to 31 December 2017. Accompanying the revenue dip was a 3.3 per cent drop in comparable sales, along with a $12.3m fall in net underlying net profit before tax to $6.2 million.

Its two plus-size fashion brands, City Chic and Autograph, were strong performers, however, showing strong revenue growth and particularly strong take-up in online sales. City Chic, for example, which is aimed at younger plus-size women, saw 34.3 per cent of total sales over the first half come in via its website, against 17.8 per cent at Autograph.

In contrast, just 4.4 per cent of Millers sales are online, and 5 per cent of those for the Rivers brand.

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