Ross Stores on Thursday announced that Michael O'Sullivan, who had been president and chief operating officer since 2009, has resigned from the company and its board of directors effective immediately to accept a position elsewhere. O'Sullivan as of Friday morning maintains Ross Stores as his current employer on his LinkedIn page, giving no indication of where he's headed.
In the interim, Michael Hartshorn, group executive vice president of finance and legal, and chief financial officer, along with Mike Kobayashi, group executive vice president of supply chain, merchant operations and technology, will report directly to CEO Barbara Rentler, according to a company press release.
Gary Cribb, group executive vice president of stores and loss prevention, will report to President and Chief Development Officer Jim Fassio, the company also said.
Ross Stores, which operates in the enviable off-price sector, has embarked on a massive brick-and-mortar expansion that flies in the face of the broader trend in the industry.
On Friday, Coresight Research said it has counted 5,994 store closures and 2,641 store openings so far this year, which more than surpasses the 5,864 closures in all of 2018. Last year, retailers opened 3,239 stores, according to that report, which was emailed to Retail Dive Friday.
In the wake of O'Sullivan's departure, Rentler said in a statement that the company will undertake further "management changes that will be announced over the coming months."
While the retailer continues to benefit from the affection many consumers have for the treasure hunt aspect of shopping in off-price stores, it recently encountered a bump in the road after women's apparel sales slipped. Ross last month reported that fourth quarter earnings fell nearly 2% to $442 million, as same-store sales rose 4%. But the company also reiterated its plans to add 75 Ross stores and 25 dd's Discounts stores (22 Ross stores and 6 dd's Discounts stores in the first quarter). The company also said it plans to shutter or relocate 10 additional stores.