Hudson’s Bay Co. on Tuesday announced the July 7 departure of CFO Paul Beesley, who will move back to Canada from New York to be closer to his family. Beesley will continue in his role over the next two months to ensure a smooth transition and a search for his replacement has launched, according to a company press release.
The department store company, which runs Hudson’s Bay stores in Canada as well as American department stores Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue, lowered its fiscal year revenue expectations for the second time earlier this year, citing a challenging retail environment in the U.S. and Europe.
Like many department store companies, Hudson’s Bay continues to face declining foot traffic and challenges in the women’s apparel, department store and luxury segments — which contributed to a $114.5 million loss in the first quarter. Its decision earlier this year to cut guidance came on the heels of similarly disappointing results from Macy’s (which announced further store closings and job cuts), Kohl’s (which also cut its guidance for its full year) and J.C. Penney (whose holiday season set back its comeback).
The company has staked much of its financial strength on a real estate play. The company has been unabashed about its moves to glean profit from its property holdings: Governor and Executive Chairman Richard Baker in 2015 told investors that the company is on the hunt for more real estate as part of its growth strategy. On a call with analysts in early April, he reaffirmed that acquisitions remain a key piece of the company's growth strategy.
With Beesley, who moved to New York to join the company as CFO in May 2014, the company formed two real estate joint ventures with leading partners in the U.S. and Canada, expanded its revolving credit facilities to include operations across four countries, obtained a $1.25 billion 20 year fixed rate mortgage on its Saks flagship propert, and undertook various other transactions to lower financing costs and reduce interest rate risk, the company said Tuesday. Last year the company also bought flash sales site Gilt Groupe for $250 in cash, although its latest quarterly earnings report showed it wrote down $116 million on the deal.
“Paul has made many contributions to HBC during his tenure, including significantly strengthening the Company’s capital structure,” CEO Jerry Storch said in a statement. “In addition, he was instrumental in the implementation of the Company’s growth and acquisition strategy. We thank Paul for his contributions and wish him much happiness and success in his next endeavour.”