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Ascena’s “Tweenovator” to retire


Michael Rayden, an innovative merchant credited with developing retail concepts that catered to the tween demographic, has announced plans to step down as president and CEO of Ascena’s Justice and Brothers division.

Rayden will leave the company at the end of January 15 following a lengthy career in the apparel industry. Ascena said it has begun a global search for a successor.

“We have been very fortunate to have had the benefit of Mike’s insight and guidance. His contribution to the retail industry is immeasurable, including pioneering the fashion and retail space for the tween market with Justice, an organization he has guided for the past 19 years,” said Ascena Retail Group president and CEO David Jaffe. “Mike’s legacy will long be remembered, as will his commitment and dedication to building the self-esteem and self-confidence of a generation of young people through fashion.”

Rayden’s retail career spanned more than 45 years, the last 19 of which were spent building the Limited Too brand and then introducing the Justice concept. In 2008 he transitioned the entire fleet of stores to a single brand, Justice, which continues to offer forward fashion at accessible price points to tween girls. Most recently, he introduced a concept called Brothers and has successfully expanded the chain’s reach to tween boys.

“In addition to building a hugely successful brand that has dominated the tween market since its inception, Mike has mentored numerous executives and encouraged his associates to become involved in organizations that support the communities in which they live and to serve their tween customers in all aspects of their lives,” Jaffe said.

Rayden said he was grateful to have had a wonderful and fulfilling career that has provided tremendous opportunities to so many.

“We have proudly enabled tween girls and boys to feel good about themselves at a critical time in their healthy development,” Rayden said. “Our mission has always been to transcend fashion, to build confidence and provide a vehicle for expression. I’ve had the privilege of being surrounded by a great group of people, who have worked tirelessly to grow our business model, delight our tween customer, and achieve great success. For me, the time is right to shift my attention from fashion to family, allowing a new generation of talent to step into the spotlight and confidently lead the business into its next phase of growth and success.”

Ascena Retail Group operates more than 4,000 stores under banners such asLane Bryant, Cacique, Maurices, Dressbarn, Catherines and the Justice and Brothers brands that Rayden led.

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