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Linda McFarland Farthing, a director of Stein Mart Inc. since 1999, has been named president and chief executive officer of the company succeeding Michael Fisher, who resigned from the post he’d held since 2003.

Farthing’s appointment is effective on or about Sept. 24.

Fisher has been with Stein Mart for 14 years. His resignation comes just four days after Stein Mart reported a 73.6 percent decline in second-quarter net income, to $2.2 million, in tandem with a 1.7 percent drop in net sales, to $330.7 million, and a 1.2 percent contraction in same-store sales for the quarter. Stein Mart also projected a loss of 3 to 6 cents per share in the third quarter.

Stein Mart also announced the appointment of two directors to its board, Susan Falk, group president of women’s wear at Hartmarx Corp., and Ralph Alexander, ceo of Innovene LLC. Falk, former president of Avenue, will serve on the fi rm’s audit committee, while Alexander will serve on the audit and compensation committees.

A veteran of the J.B. Ivey organization, Farthing was president and chief operating offi cer of The Cato Corp. between 1990 and 1997, and held the same post at Friedman’s in 1998. She has chaired Stein Mart’s audit committee since 2003.

“This company has a strong and profi table history,” she said in a statement, “and a tremendous franchise of loyal customers. I look forward to a successful new chapter in that history, built on the company’s demonstrated commitment to provide great fashions at compelling prices, in a way that creates value for customers, associates and shareholders.”

As of the close of the second quarter on Aug. 4, Stein Mart operated 270 stores.

This story first appeared in the August 28, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.