- Chico's FAS announced Wednesday the appointment of Karen McKibbin as president of the Chico's brand, effective April 1, according to a company press release. McKibbin will report to the company's President and CEO Shelley Broader.
- McKibbin previously served as president of Nordstrom Rack, and prior to that position she was president of Nordstrom Canada where she oversaw logistics, buying, marketing, real estate and online strategies. Prior to those roles, McKibbin served as Nordstrom's vice president.
- Amid the announcement, Chico's FAS on Wednesday reported earnings, which included a net loss of $16.6 million for the fourth quarter. For the 52-week fiscal year, the company reported a net income of $35.6 million, compared to the 53-week prior fiscal year, which reported a net income of $101 million, according to a company press release.
Chico's FAS is making moves to steady the company through the hire of experienced retail veteran Karen McKibbin at its namesake brand, even as earnings revealed a disappointing quarter, with negative comp sales at two out of three of the brands. Chico's saw negative comparable sales of 7.9%, while White House Black Market recorded negative comps of 2.9% and Soma had the only positive comp sales of the bunch, at 6.2%.
The retailer stated in January that it was preparing a "retail fleet optimization plan" that would result in closing 250 stores over the next three years. Earnings statements on Wednesday reiterated that intention and further revealed that the strategy would include closing approximately 100 Chico's, 90 White House Black Market and 60 Soma locations during that time frame, with "the majority of the closings occurring in years two and three." During fiscal 2019, the company expects to close up to 80 stores.
"We achieved sequential improvement in comparable sales in all three brands in the fourth quarter, and with work continuing across the Company, we believe we are better positioned heading into the new fiscal year," Broader said in a statement regarding earnings. "At our namesake Chico's brand, improvement actions are taking hold, and we expect that Karen, our new Chico's Brand President, will further advance these efforts."