Cut from the same cloth: Esprit tries on Zara for fashion makeover

People shop at an Esprit Outlet store in SingaporeBy Clare Baldwin and Sarah Morris HONG KONG/MADRID (Reuters) – Esprit Holdings' chief is doubling down on a bet to fix the struggling clothing retailer he took charge of a year ago by revamping its existing business model and recreating it in the image of his former employer-now-rival, Zara. Jose Manuel Martinez Gutierrez, 44, has stacked his management suite with veterans of Zara owner Inditex The former McKinsey consultant and supply-chain whiz has laid the foundations for Esprit's recovery over the next 12-18 months with his nuts and bolts overhaul – he cut 10 percent of Esprit staff in the past year – but the real gauge of success will be in growing sales. "Our business figures are extremely far from our goals and expectations," he acknowledged in a letter to shareholders in Esprit's most recent annual report in October.