Amazon Brand Startup Thrasio Poaches CFO From Ailing JCPenney

Thrasio, a startup that rolls up popular brands sold on Inc.’s marketplace, has poached JCPenney’s chief financial officer.

Bill Wafford, hired in 2019 to help turn around the unprofitable department store chain, will serve in the same job at Thrasio, the company said on Thursday.

Wafford is the latest executive to leave JCPenney since it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May. The pandemic struck less than a year into his tenure and hit apparel retailers like JCPenney hard, forcing them to close hundreds of stores for weeks. Mall owners Simon Property Group Inc. and Brookfield Asset Management Inc. acquired JCPenney’s retail operations out of bankruptcy to help keep one of its biggest tenants in business. In December, the new owners replaced Jill Soltau as CEO.

Wafford joined JCPenney from The Vitamin Shoppe during Soltau’s tenure.

Walpole, Massachusetts-based Thrasio is the best funded of a raft of startups looking to capitalize on Amazon’s e-commerce dominance by acquiring up-and-coming sellers on the company’s third-party marketplace. Thrasio and its peers buy out small merchants, sometimes mom-and-pop operations run out of garages, and plan to use their retail expertise to turn the acquisitions into global brands.

Thrasio on Thursday also announced $100 million in new equity funding, bringing the total debt and equity raised by the company since December to $1.35 billion.

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