Plus, Walmart names a new chief operating officer, Gap and J. Crew Group appoint new CEOs and Lululemon hires a chief brand officer.

Furniture retailer Art Van Furniture announced this week that it’s shutting down its operations, including its 200 stores and ecommerce site, and liquidating all assets. This includes its brands Art Van Furniture, Art Van PureSleep and Scott Shuptrine Interiors with stores in Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana and Missouri. Wolf Furniture stores—also owned by parent Art Van Furniture—in Ohio and Pennsylvania will be sold, while Wolf Furniture stores in Maryland and Virginia will be liquidated.

“Despite our best efforts to remain open, the company’s brands and operating performance have been hit hard by a challenging retail environment,” said Diane Charles, corporate communications and marketing executive for the retailer, in a statement. “We recognize the extraordinary retail, community and philanthropic legacies that Art Van Furniture has built for decades in the community.”

Founded in 1959 with one store, Art Van Furniture grew to operating 200 stores throughout the Midwest. In March 2017, the company was purchased by private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners for an undisclosed amount. The shutdown also means the loss of jobs for about 3,200 workers.

In addition, Art Van Furniture’s ecommerce site is temporarily “offline for maintenance” at the time of publication.

Art Van Furniture is No. 571 in the 2019 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000


In other ecommerce news:

  • Walmart Inc. (No. 3) named Jamie Iannone as its chief operating officer for U.S. ecommerce, the latest reshuffle in its senior management ranks. Iannone, who joined Walmart in 2014, was previously running the web, membership and marketing operations of the retailer’s wholesale subsidiary Sam’s Club, according to a memo obtained by Bloomberg News. At Sam’s Club, he spearheaded several initiatives to improve customer service and boost online sales. In his new role, he will report to U.S. ecommerce chief Marc Lore and to new U.S. CEO John Furner, who worked closely with Iannone over the past few years as head of Sam’s Club.
  • Gap Inc. (No. 28) named its Old Navy CEO Sonia Syngal as CEO of the company, replacing chairman Robert Fisher as interim CEO. Syngal became CEO of Old Navy in 2016, and her previous roles include executive vice president for global supply chain and product operations at Gap. Art Peck departed from the role of CEO in November 2019 after leading the apparel retailer since 2015. One of his last acts was to try to spin off Gap’s discount chain Old Navy from its other brands—an attempt that was ultimately scrapped. He also failed to reignite sales growth during his tenure, with the company posting multiple quarters of negative same-store sales, a closely watched metric for retailers. Fisher said that Syngal will “make the decisions necessary to deliver value from our portfolio of brands over the long term.” Gap owns its namesake brand, Old Navy, Banana Republic and athleisure brand Athleta.

  • J. Crew Group Inc. (No. 62) has ended its year-long hunt for a new CEO and named Jan Singer as CEO in February. Singer was most recently CEO of L Brands Inc.-owned Victoria’s Secret (No. 39) since 2016. At J. Crew, she will be responsible for all aspects of the J.Crew and J.Crew Factory brands and businesses. Singer replaced Michael Nicholson, who served as interim CEO since James Brett departed in November 2018. Nicholson will return to his previous role as president and chief operating officer of J.Crew Group. “Over the past year, we have made great progress restoring profitability at the J.Crew brand, while further optimizing our operations, thereby establishing a strong foundation for long-term growth,” said Chad Leat, director and chairman of the J. Crew board. “Jan’s passion for our brand, focused vision of our potential and deep understanding of the modern consumer will be invaluable in rebuilding the strategic positioning and prestige of our iconic brand and company.”
  • Lululemon Athletica Inc. (No. 82) appointed Nikki Neuburger as chief brand officer in January. She will be responsible for leading the marketing, creative, communications and sustainability functions of Lululemon. Prior to joining the athletic apparel retailer, Neuburger served as global head of marketing for Uber Eats. She was also global vice president of Nike Running at footwear brand and manufacturer Nike Inc. (No. 33), where she focused on product innovation, digital services and community building. She also oversaw the direction of the Nike Membership division. “Nikki is an innovative marketing leader with a proven track record of building and scaling global brands, making her the ideal person to become Lululemon’s first chief brand officer,” said Lululemon CEO Calvin McDonald. “Her years of experience in the athletic industry, paired with her deep expertise in digital marketing, consumer insights and brand creative, will be instrumental as we build upon our momentum.”

Bloomberg contributed to this article.