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Chico’s CEO out; company on hunt for successor

Chico’s FAS has a temporary new leader at the top.

The struggling women’s apparel retailer announced that Shelley Broader has resigned as CEO, president and as member of the board. Bonnie Brooks, former vice chair, president and CEO of Hudson's Bay Company and a current member of the Chico's board, has been appointed interim CEO of Chico’s, effective immediately.

Broader’s resignation comes as Chico’s has been challenged with sliding sales. The company’s total same-store sales fell 4.9% last year. Net sales slipped to $2.1 billion from $2.3 billion. The company is also reducing its store portfolio, having announced with plans close at least 250 U.S. locations over the next three years in what it called a “strategic decision to rebalance the mix between its physical store presence with its digital network.”

Chico's has hired Herbert Mines Associates to search for a permanent CEO and president. The board search committee is chaired by Bill Simon, a member of the Chico's board since 2016 and previously president and CEO of Walmart U.S. and executive VP of Walmart Stores.

"Bonnie is a successful retail executive and merchant who has led the turnaround of other fashion retailers, and we are pleased to have her step into the CEO role on an interim basis," said David Walker, chairman. "Her experience in the industry, as well as her time on the Chico's FAS Board, give her a deep understanding of our brands and customers. We are confident that Bonnie will be able to quickly step into the business to benefit the sales, products and merchandising across all of the company's brands as the board continues its search for a permanent CEO with a strong apparel track record."

Brooks has been a member of the Chico's board since 2016. She joined Hudson's Bay in 2008 as CEO and president. From 2012 to 2014, Brooks served as President of Hudson's Bay Company, responsible for both Hudson's Bay and Lord & Taylor.

From 1997 to 2008, Brooks was based in Hong Kong serving as an executive officer, including as president, of the Lane Crawford Joyce Group, a women's fashion retailer with over 500 stores in Asia, and as global merchandise manager for Dickson Concepts (International) Limited, a luxury retail group and owner of Harvey Nichols, UK. Prior to that, Brooks spent over a decade at Holt Renfrew & Company.

As of February 2, 2019, Chico’s operated 1,418 stores under several banners in the U.S. and Canada and sold merchandise through 83 international franchise locations in Mexico.
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