Burlington on Tuesday announced that Thomas Kingsbury will step down from his role as CEO in September after more than 10 years in the position, according to a company press release. Kingsbury will continue on as executive chairman of the board of directors during a transition period.
Michael O'Sullivan will succeed Kingsbury as CEO. O'Sullivan most recently served as the president and COO of Ross Stores.
Chief Merchandising Officer Jennifer Vecchio will step into the newly created role of president, chief merchandising officer. She will continue to head merchandising and planning, and oversee marketing and strategy. Vecchio previously served as the executive vice president of merchandising of mens and kids at Ross Stores from 2009 to 2011. Burlington did not immediately respond to a Retail Dive's request for comment.
A former competitor will soon lead Burlington into a new chapter.
The announcement comes on the heels of the retailer's fourth quarter and 2018 results where it reported a net income decrease of 23% year over year. In a press release announcing the results Kingsbury stated, "It is important to note that the fourth quarter represented our most difficult Fiscal 2018 one and two year quarterly comparable store sales comparisons."
Off-price retailers have had success with driving traffic to brick and mortar with a focus on the treasure hunt mentality, but the segment is still struggling with an overarching e-commerce strategy, a key component of success for retailers. While discount retailers traditionally have had an online presence, it typically isn't a space where consumers can shop. That may be starting to shift. In February competitor Marshalls revealed that it is looking to e-commerce growth and is aiming to sell different merchandise online than it does in stores.
At a March American Apparel and Footwear Association conference, Kingsbury said that while Burlington was growing its e-commerce business, sales in the channel accounted for less than 1% of Burlington's business. "There's a lot of barriers for us in terms of doing the e-commerce business because our goal in life is to protect brands. We are not going to put any brand on our e-commerce site unless we get approval. So, that really restricts it," he said.
At the same event Kingsbury also alluded to the possibility of Burlington closing stores. "We are overstored," he said. "So, there is going to be this natural reduction of stores. Especially in the underperforming mall locations."
Burlington currently operates 675 stores in 45 states and Puerto Rico.