While analysts have endorsed the plan, McComb has laid off many high-level execs and hired Project Runway star Tim Gunn as chief creative director, prompting complaints from designers.
Current and former Liz Claiborne executives said that Mr. McComb had damaged morale by effectively creating two tiers of brands — winners (like Juicy, Lucky and Kate) and losers (like Ellen, Dana and Sigrid). “It’s no fun to learn you haven’t made the A Team,” said one well-known designer whose brand is up for sale, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the company forbade employees from discussing the changes.
...Four made [the] cut: Juicy Couture, Lucky Brands, Mexx and Kate Spade. By 2010, the company plans to open 300 new stores for these labels. It will operate 148 Juicy stores, up from 56 today; 311 Lucky stores, up from 189; 120 Kate Spade stores, up from 40; and 275 Mexx stores, up from 234.