Party City is bringing in Todd Vogensen as its new CFO, effective Feb. 3, the party goods retailer announced last week.
In the role, Vogensen will report to CEO James Harrison, and will oversee all aspects of finance, business development and investor relations while also helping to spearhead the retail chain's multi-channel growth strategy.
Vogensen has worked in finance for nearly 30 years, much of that in the consumer retail space. He arrives at Party City from Chico's FAS, where he served as CFO. Prior to that, he worked for arts and crafts retailer Michaels as corporate controller, vice president of financial planning and analysis (FP&A) and vice president of merchandising finance.
Vogensen will need to help the East Hanover, New Jersey-based retailer regain its footing after a disappointing 2019, and a particularly disastrous Halloween, typically its most profitable holiday.
Party City said its sales results for the fiscal year ended Dec. 31 are expected to be down 3%, and it plans to focus on future positive comparable sales growth through in-store initiatives and an improved e-commerce platform.
The party goods chain has been struggling for some time. In October, Harrison, on an earnings call, said the company reported a "disappointing" third quarter. Revenue was down 2.3% year over year, to $540.2 million, and retail sales were down 1.7%, Retail Dive reported.
Analyst Philip Emma told Retail Dive the market perceives Party City's performance as “a disaster," driving market prices for the company's debt "down substantially."
As retail shopping continues moving into the online marketplace, weak brick-and-mortar sales is taking a toll on the company, which operates 900 U.S. stores.
In a bit of good news, the company's online sales are increasing, boosted in part by substantial markdowns, including a 15% off offer for orders over $35. But this will not make up for the lack of foot traffic at its brick-and-mortar stores, a "huge problem," Emma told Retail Dive.
Vogensen has led several initiatives to improve the operational efficiency and strategic financial positioning at Chico's. Among other things, he oversaw a corporate headcount reduction of over 25% and a store fleet reduction of more than 10%, while launching projects to improve the quality and speed of merchandise to market."