Body Central names new CEO
After searching for a chief executive for more than six months, Body Central Corp. on Tuesday named industry veteran Brian Woolf as the new CEO of the Jacksonville-based fashion retailer.
Woolf has more than 40 years of specialty retailing and department store experience, most recently as group president for Lane Bryant, Lane Bryant Outlet Stores and Cacique.
Those three brands were all owned by Charming Shoppes Inc., which was acquired last June by Ascena Retail Group Inc.
Woolf had previously been CEO of women's specialty retailer Cache Inc., and his experience also includes executive roles at Macy's and The Limited.
"I am thrilled to be joining Body Central and look forward to working with the entire team as we continue to develop our brand and strategy. I am excited about the opportunity to grow the company, strengthen our junior business and increase shareholder value," Woolf said in a news release.
Body Central has been looking for a new CEO since Allen Weinstein resigned in August after a sales slump sent its stock plummeting.
Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer Tom Stoltz had been serving as interim CEO and had been considered a candidate for the permanent job, according to analysts who follow the company.
Stoltz will remain in his roles as COO and CFO, the company said Tuesday.
Stoltz was active during his tenure as interim chief executive. Under his watch, the company applied for $1.39 million in City and state incentives to move its headquarters and distribution facility from the Southside to One Imeson Center on the Northside. The City Council approved Jacksonville's share of the incentive package last month.
"I welcome Brian to the Body Central team and look forward to working with him," Stoltz said in the news release.
"He brings a strong track record, deep industry knowledge and leadership skills to the company and will undoubtedly play a key role in our continued growth and future success," he said.
Body Central sells young women's fashion at 276 stores in 26 states and through an online and catalog business.
The company had a strong record of sales growth until merchandising misses caused a big drop in comparable-store sales, starting in the spring.
Body Central reported total revenue rose 4.9 percent to $311 million in 2012 but comparable-store sales — sales at stores open for more than one year — dropped by 8.1 percent for the full year.
Body Central's stock dropped from a high of $30.93 last May before it announced the first in a series of disappointing sales reports to a low of $7.71 in the summer.
The stock has been trading near that low since the company announced its 2012 sales results last month. The stock closed at $7.94 Tuesday.
The announcement of Woolf's appointment came after the stock market closed.