In a letter to shareholders, Cesare Fazari, the recently-appointed CEO of RYU Apparel Inc., announced steps the company is taking to strengthen its balance sheet, leverage online sales and optimize inventory levels.

On April 21, Fazari was appointed chairman and CEO. As part of the reorganization, Marcello Leone, the former president and CEO, resigned as executive chairman and director and Martino Ciambrelli also resigned as director of the company

Fazari, a significant investor in RYU, has over 30 years of experience in retail real estate development and is a founding partner of Northwood Developments. The letter follows below.

To The Shareholders Of RYU,

I am deeply honored to have accepted the important responsibility of leading RYU at this time which is both challenging and yet full of so much opportunity.

All businesses, and especially those in transition, experience challenges. I’d like to begin by expressing my sincere gratitude for the loyalty, patience and ongoing support of our shareholders. I know many of you personally, and your belief has kept this amazing Canadian apparel brand alive, relevant, and I strongly believe, poised to take its rightful place as a market and industry leader.

We all have strong reasons to believe. At the core of this belief is the style and quality of our brand and products. RYU’s emergence as a recognized brand has been built on its reputation for design quality and the use of progressive construction and fabric technologies. This has all resulted in numerous national and global awards, innovation patents, and a strong accumulation of intellectual property gained over five years of evolution and maturation.

Our incredibly loyal customer base is the driving force behind our positive outlook for the future. We should also feel proud that RYU has built strong relationships with other important corporations and charities in both Canada and the United States.

I have identified the following urgent and immediate focus areas to address in the coming weeks:

  1. Stabilize Our Balance Sheet and Finances — We have prioritized and reached out to vendors within our supply chain, landlords, lawyers, accountants, government agencies and others. We have received solid support towards positive resolutions leveraging payment discounts, payment deferrals and creating new business in the future for inventory purchases and other needed services. We will re-open flagship retail locations in Toronto and Vancouver while reducing brick and mortar expenditures in other locations. Further – I am committed to not taking any personal compensation until the company is stabilized.
  1. Leverage and Grow Digital Sales — Online sales are critical to our future and our growth as an internationally recognized brand. RYU’s e-commerce conversion rates are significantly higher than industry averages and represent our biggest growth opportunity. We have taken immediate action to further expand our digital sales capabilities.
  1. Ensure Inventory Supply Matches DemandCustomer demand for RYU’s products has outweighed supply due to inadequate investment in inventory. We have identified our best-selling products while concurrently arranging for new inventory purchases to satisfy customer demand.

I am confident we have all of the important ingredients needed to help Respect Your Universe strive to stand amongst the very best Canadian iconic apparel brands. This includes globally recognized and award-winning products, a deep talent pool of leadership within our employee group as well as our Board, institutional banking and impactful strategic and media relationships.

There is much to do, but rest assured I will continue to communicate openly and transparently with you all. I truly appreciate your ongoing trust and support. Together we will forge ahead and pioneer the brightest chapter of the RYU journey.

Join me.

Cesare Fazari