Struggling women’s apparel retailer Bebe Stores Inc. Friday said it is bringing back founder Manny Mashouf to replace Jim Wiggett as CEO.
The retailer is also cutting positions in its design, merchandising, and production divisions—about 45 jobs total and 14.6% of its corporate workforce.
The company named Wigget CEO and a board member a little over a year ago, after Wigget had a promising interim CEO run over the summer of 2014. Now Wigget and CFO Liyuan Woo are out, while former CEO Walter Parks is rejoining as president, COO, and interim CFO.
Bebe was founded in 1976 and had forged a solid reputation for chic fashion. But it hasn’t really recovered from the departure of creative director Neda Mashouf, who left after her 2007 divorce from president and controlling investor (and now returned CEO) Manny Mashouf. The company said that it is looking to cut costs by $6 million, which will include an "organizational restructuring" that streamlines its design and merchandising teams and reduces support functions.
In September Ryan Drexler, president of private equity firm Consac LLC, urged the company to consider a sale or going private.
In December of 2014, the retailer’s share price rose on the news that Wigget would stay on, but it’s been suffering since as the company has failed to gain traction. The company recently released disappointing Q2 2016 earnings, with same store sales decreasing 2.5% in the quarter, compared to an 8% increase the year before. Traffic was flat for the retailer as it competes with fast-fashion retailers and big-box stores like Target, who are in the process of ramping up their apparel offerings.