Home book seller Forever 21 taps retail veteran Winnie Park as CEO

Forever 21 taps retail veteran Winnie Park as CEO


Diving brief:

  • Paper Source CEO Winnie Park joined Forever 21 as Managing Director, effective immediately, the fast fashion retailer announced on Wednesday.

  • Park has held the #1 position at Paper Source for the past six years. During that time, she oversaw the retailer’s expansion into a lifestyle brand and its sale to a subsidiary of bookseller Barnes & Noble, the statement said.

  • Paper Source did not immediately respond to a request for comment on its plans to replace Park.

Overview of the dive:

It’s Forever 21 second attempt to fill this position after its bankruptcy, and follows the abrupt departure of Daniel Kulle a few months ago, after less than two years in the role.

Kulle, who has a fast fashion background from his days at H&M, took over as helm of a retailer that had remained under the control of its founders for decades and had just emerged from Chapter 11. The Sparc Group , a joint venture of mall REIT Simon Property Group and brand conglomerate Authentic Brands Group have owned Forever 21 since its takeover from bankruptcy in 2020.

Park, who reports to Sparc CEO Marc Miller, has decades of fashion and retail experience, according to the press release. Prior to joining Paper Source, she spent nine years at the LVMH-owned luxury retailer DFS, where she launched her first global e-commerce site for fashion, beauty, watches, jewelry and spirits. Before that, she led women’s merchandising at Dockers, owned by Levi Strauss, and started her career at McKinsey & Company in fashion retail and consumer digital. In a statement, she also called herself “a long-time buyer and admirer” of Forever 21.

She takes over not only after a leadership hiccup, but also amid signs of fast fashion decline. The segment suffered as consumers increasingly consider sustainability when spending. Still, Chinese fast fashion online retailer Shein showed how the model retains its power in the market.

In a statement, Miller noted that Forever 21 does $2 billion in sales itself, and said that should grow with Park at the helm.

“She is an inspirational leader and team builder who brings deep omnichannel experience and a track record of successfully growing businesses with particular strengths in strategy, merchandising, marketing and brand image. brand,” Miller said.