Add LuAnn Via, former president and chief executive officer of Christopher & Banks Corp., and the company’s stock to the list of Christmas casualties.
The specialty chain said she left the company today, after a holiday season that will spur on fourth-quarter losses. Shares of the firm fell 32 percent to $1.42, leaving it with a market capitalization of $53.1 million.
Via follows board chairman Lisa Wardell, who resigned Jan. 10, and is being replaced by board member Kent Kleeberger.
Joel Waller has been named interim president and ceo, having held similar responsibilities at the company before. He will serve as the retailer looks for a permanent replacement and is familiar with the corner office, having also worked as ceo of both The Wet Seal Inc. and Wilsons Leather.
The 499-door company has been buffeted by the winds felt by most retailers, including “lower traffic, ongoing headwinds in women’s apparel and weather.”
Christopher & Banks saw its most-significant declines during the two full weekends before Christmas, when sales took a $4.5 million hit. Fourth-quarter sales are now expected to range from $85 million to $86 million, down from the $93 million to $97 million previously projected.
The sales weakness and the accompanying promotions to clear inventory as well as costs to change management is expected to push Christopher & Banks to a $16 million to $17 million loss in the fourth quarter.
Despite the weaker than expected results, the firm said it would end the year with about $30 million in cash, cash equivalents and investments, near the low-end of prior guidance.
Kleeberger said: “As we look to fiscal 2017, the board of directors and management, under Joel’s leadership, are committed to continuing to explore ways to maximize shareholder value, including implementing the cost savings initiatives previously identified for fiscal 2017, exploring additional cost savings opportunities, and inventory optimization. In addition to these current efforts, the company is also exploring opportunities to maximize e-commerce growth potential, generate free cash flow and identify potential growth opportunities and strategic transactions.”