By  on August 31, 2007

Christopher & Banks, which has struggled with declining same-store sales and inventory issues, has named Lorna Nagler president and chief executive officer, succeeding Matthew Dillon, who resigned.

From 2002 until June, Nagler had been president of Lane Bryant, a large-size division of Charming Shoppes and a direct competitor.

"Her experience in the women's specialty retailing industry and talent as a leader capable of building effective teams make her an outstanding choice," board chairman Larry Barenbaum said in a statement. He did not explain the reason for the change in command.

Minneapolis-based Christopher & Banks, which caters to Baby Boomers with moderate-priced women's regular and large sizes, seems like a good fit for Nagler, considering she has extensive experience in those demographics. Before Lane Bryant, she was senior vice president and general merchandising manager for apparel and jewelry at Kmart.

Christopher & Banks has been aggressively expanding in the large-size arena. In fall 2000, the C.J. Banks large sizes division opened its first 20 stores. There are 239 C.J. Banks units. The company also operates 531 Christopher & Banks stores offering women's sizes 4 to 16; and 37 Acorn stores selling more upscale women's fashions, jewelry and accessories.

Same-store sales for the first quarter ended June 2 fell 4 percent compared with the same period in 2006. Total sales were up to $149.4 million from $142.5 million. Same-store sales for the 22 weeks ended Aug. 4 declined 1 percent.

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