A&F Taps Ramsden as CFO

Former TBWA exec to join firm in December.

Abercrombie & Fitch on Friday filled a key spot in its executive ranks in advance of the holiday season when it named Jonathan Ramsden as executive vice president and chief financial officer.

This story first appeared in the November 10, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Ramsden, who spent 10 years as cfo and a member of the executive team at advertising agency TBWA Worldwide, will take the helm in early to mid-December.

Abercrombie’s previous cfo, Michael Kramer, resigned in August to become chief executive officer of Kellwood Co., five months after the women’s apparel vendor was acquired by Sun Capital Partners Inc.

A month later, Abercrombie’s senior vice president of finance, Michael Nuzzo, who had been standing in for Kramer, resigned to take the position of executive vice president and cfo at General Nutrition Centers Inc. Brian Logan, the company’s controller, assumed financial responsibilities after Nuzzo left.

Prior to working as cfo at TBWA, Ramsden served as controller and principal accounting officer of parent Omnicom Group Inc. for more than two years.

“We were extremely impressed by several of the candidates, but Jonathan clearly stood out above the rest,” said A&F chairman and ceo Mike Jeffries, adding that Ramsden’s experience will serve him well as Abercrombie continues to position its brands for the “long term.”

In recent months, the mall-based company has struggled with soft sales as consumer spending has slowed and shoppers have traded down to more moderately priced retailers.

On Thursday, the New Albany, Ohio-based retailer reported a 20 percent fall in comparable-store sales for October with the Hollister Co. division down 25 percent. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected corporate same-store sales to fall 14.4 percent. In September and August, comps fell 14 percent and 11 percent, respectively. For the second quarter ended Aug. 2, the company’s profits contracted 4.2 percent to $77.8 million, or 87 cents a diluted share, compared with income of $81.3 million, or 88 cents a share, for the year-ago period. Revenues were up 5.1 percent to $845.8 million versus $804.5 million for the prior-year period.

Abercrombie will report third-quarter earnings on Friday. Analysts expects earnings per share of 74 cents, versus $1.29 in the year-ago quarter, on revenues of $930.3 million, versus $973.9 million in the 2007 period.

The retailer operates 353 Abercrombie & Fitch stores, 209 abercrombie stores, 495 Hollister Co. stores, 27 Ruehl stores and 13 Gilly Hicks stores in the U.S. The company also runs three Abercrombie & Fitch stores, one abercrombie store, three Hollister Co. stores in Canada and one Abercrombie & Fitch store and one Hollister Co. unit in London.