Destination XL loses marketing chief, names replacement - The Entrepreneurial Way with A.I.


Monday, September 26, 2022

Destination XL loses marketing chief, names replacement


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Dive Brief:

  • Destination XL Chief Marketing Officer Ujjwal Dhoot is set to leave the company Oct. 11, the retailer said in a press release.
  • Dhoot joined as chief digital officer in 2019 before taking on the role of marketing chief. In the position, Dhoot helped see the men’s big-and-tall apparel retailer through a dramatic turnaround over the course of the pandemic.
  • Replacing Dhoot is James Reath, who most recently served as a senior marketing executive at Bed Bath & Beyond, and before that at Macy’s.

Dive Insight:

Destination XL’s rebound over the past two years has been built, in part, around its marketing operations as the retailer aims to become more personalized, cost-efficient and front-of-mind for its customers. Key to all of that is data and the company’s marketing platforms. 

“The reality is that the customer is changing, and the trends are changing, and their behaviors change so frequently that you have to keep up with it. So you have to invest in continuing to understand the customer,” Dhoot told Retail Dive in a 2021 interview. “And our holy grail, which we pursue every day in our experience, is our one-to-one personalized experience that we offer our customers across all channels.”

The retailer at the time was working to sync up real-time inventory management with its direct communications to customers, for example, pinging customers with emails letting them know that a certain product is in.

Marketing matters to the retailer, which has been out to let its customers know that where generalist apparel sellers might offer big-and-tall selections, Destination XL is among the few that specializes specifically in their sizes.

“The reality is that there’s a lot of people that are in this space, and it’s kind of a night job for them. It’s like a part-time side job,” CEO Harvey Kanter told Retail Dive in an interview earlier this year. “All we do is what we do.”

The efforts so far have proved successful. In 2020, the company, along with many other apparel retailers, came under financial strain. The combination of temporary store closures and a longer-term decline in apparel shopping across the board strained cash reserves and balance sheets. Destination XL went from appearing on watch lists to growing not just its sales but its market share over the course of 2021. 

Its turnaround has lasted even into the turbulent year of 2022. For the second quarter — during which many apparel sellers reported declines in sales and profits as consumers pulled back on discretionary purchases — Destination XL posted a 6.1% comparable sales increase and more than doubled its net income compared to Q2 last year.

The company didn’t specify why Dhoot was departing but noted that he will help with the transition as Reath steps into the role, starting Monday.

Kanter said in a press release that Reath’s appointment “underscores our ongoing transformation and commitment to building out the organization’s continued focus on customer engagement through data-driven personalization, loyalty and digital marketing.”


Ben Unglesbee, Khareem Sudlow