NEW YORK — Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. has tapped Seth Johnson, the former chief operating officer of Abercrombie & Fitch, to take the same position on Nov. 1 and rise to chief executive officer in April.

Greg Weaver, Pacific Sunwear’s current chairman and ceo, will become executive chairman next spring. Johnson was also named a member of the board of directors.

“In this new position, I will remain an employee of the company working reduced hours and will focus on new business development,” Weaver, 50, said in a statement Monday announcing the changes. “With Seth’s extensive background and my ongoing involvement, we are confident this should be a seamless transition.”

The position of chief operating officer was last held by Mark Hoffman who resigned in 2001.

Johnson, who is also 50, worked for A&F for 12 years and retired last June as executive vice president and chief operating officer, when Robert Singer, formerly of Gucci, became A&F’s president and chief operating officer.

Pacific Sunwear has been on a roll with double-digit monthly same-store sales gains and is expected to report a 25.8 percent increase in third-quarter earnings on Nov 8. Analysts are calling for a profit of 39 cents, compared with a profit of 31 cents in the third quarter of 2003.

In its latest second quarter, Pacific Sunwear reported a better-than-expected 47.1 percent surge in earnings-per-share to 25 cents. Sales jumped 17.2 percent to $274.8 million.

For the first six months of 2004, the company earned 43 cents, up 53.6 percent from 28 cents in the year-earlier period. Total sales were $520 million, up 20.2 percent.

Anaheim, Calif.-based Pacific Sunwear operates 727 PacSun units, 158 D.e.m.o. stores and 84 PacSun outlets.

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