Brett Blundy, founder and CEO of Brazin, an international apparel retailer based in Australia which went into the footwear sector through the acquisition last August of Ghetto, a rapidly growing Australian chain of young lifestyle shoe shops, has resigned. He will focus on strategic development, taking the title of executive director in charge of corporate and new business development. Also Wilfred Steiner has resigned as chief financial officer of Brazin, and he has been replaced by Andrew Smith who had a similar role at Oroton Group, an Australian firm involved in fashion accessories.
Brazin's new CEO is Greg Milne, an Australian executive who has relocated from the USA, where he had become CEO of The Walking Company, the footwear retailer based in California that was recently acquired by a large American apparel retailer, Big Dog Holdings, for more than $15 million. Specializing in comfort shoes, The Walking Company fell into bankruptcy proceedings for the second time last summer.
Big Dog, which began as a factory outlet retailer in 1993, has 194 stores in the USA, selling mainly its own branded apparel, with accessories representing only 5 percent of its sales of $108.8 million in 2002. Run by Andrew D. Feshbach, Big Dog will integrate The Walking Company into its own infrastructures, generating big cost savings. The Walking Co. had revenues of about $65 million last year. Big Dog says the number of its stores, located across the USA, could eventually be raised from the present 72 doors to about 120, targeting mainly the malls.
Milne had already worked for Brazin in the mid-1990s as general manager of its chain of lingerie shops, Bras N Things. An executive with more than 20 years of retail experience behind him, he was also for a while president and CEO of Sunglass Hut International, where he participated in the negotiations over the sale of that big chain of sunglass stores, bought by Luxottica in 2001 for $650 million.