By and and  on October 15, 2010

Investors on Thursday reacted strongly to the departure of fix-it man James Fogarty as chief executive officer at Charming Shoppes Inc., driving down the stock 21.6 percent to $3.41.

Over the past year, the stock has traded as low as $2.84 and as high as $6.91.

Charming Shoppes brought in Fogarty in April 2009 to replace longtime ceo Dorrit Bern, who was urged by activist investors to boost profitability at the firm, which operates the Lane Bryant, Cacique, Fashion Bug and Catherines Plus Sizes chains. Fogarty was a 15-year veteran of turnaround firm Alvarez & Marsal.

In a generally off day for the market, Charming Shoppes turned in the worst performance of the 171 stocks tracked by WWD. The S&P Retail Index dipped 0.3 percent, or 1.49 points, to 460.13, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average gave up 1.51 points to end at 11,094.57.

Shares of Saks Inc., which ran up as much as 9.1 percent Wednesday, raising more than a few eyebrows, settled down a bit on Thursday, falling 0.8 percent to $9.89.

• Possible Loehmann’s Closures: Loehmann’s Capital Corp. could close up to 15 underperforming stores, out of its total fleet of 60 units in 16 states, in the next 12 months and liquidate those stores’ inventories. The off-price retailer disclosed Thursday that it had received approval of more than 50 percent of its bondholders to swap old notes due in 2011 for new notes due in 2014, clearing the way for it to increase the availability under its revolving credit facility to $45 million from $35 million and shutter the stores. It still needs 97 percent approval from bondholders to complete the swap and has until Oct. 28 to do so. Loehmann’s declined comment on which stores might be closed.

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