Goody’s Family Clothing named Charles “Chuck” Turlinski chief executive officer on Monday, rounding out the retailer’s new management team.

The moderate-price chain was taken private in a $327 million buyout by GMM Capital and Prentice Capital Management in January 2006, and some experts view Turlinski’s appointment as a preliminary step in taking the 54-year-old company public. He is considered an operations and financial executive with a record of shoring up businesses.

Asked if Turlinski would take Goody’s public, Isaac Dabah, chairman of Goody’s and ceo of GMM Capital, replied, “Possibly, but it’s too premature. We’ve got to first make changes, and get some more traction. But he certainly has the capabilities of running a public company. He’s got a great background.” Turlinski will report to Dabah, who was acting ceo of Goody’s.

Turlinski will join Goody’s, which has 385 stores primarily in strip centers in the Southeast and Midwest, on Feb. 14. He will oversee all aspects of the business, working with Mary P. Kwan, who was named president last October and is the chain’s top merchant.

The announcement confirmed a WWD report Jan. 18 that Turlinski was a candidate to be ceo of the Knoxville, Tenn.-based retailer.

“Goody’s needed a financial operator to go in and figure out how to lift its profitability, and possibly take it public,” said a retail source who asked not to be identified. “Chuck knows how to talk to the Street and he’s a good operator.”

Until departing this month, Turlinski for the past three years had been ceo of the Limited Stores division of Limited Brands, where he stopped the hemorrhaging. He spent 10 years at Limited Brands divisions, working to fix other apparel sectors that were having difficulties, including New York & Co. and Express. New York & Co., formerly called Lerner, was sold to Bear Stearns Merchant Banking in 2002.

“Chuck’s bench strength in the specialty store arena, combined with his leadership skills, will be instrumental as we move the company forward,” Dabah said.

“Goody’s has a strong foundation and critical mass,” Turlinski said in a statement. “It will be the new management team’s challenge to build on this base. The brand’s heritage in Main Street America, a strong real estate footprint throughout the South and several new initiatives on the horizon make for exciting times ahead.”

This story first appeared in the January 23, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Goody’s targets value-conscious customers and sells labels such as Adidas, Alfred Dun­ner, Carter’s, Dockers, l.e.i., Lee, Levi’s, Mudd, Nike, Reebok, Requirements, Sag Harbor, U.S. Polo Association and Zana-di. It is also the exclusive retailer of Duck Head. Recently, private label lines were introduced, including Ivy Crew for men; Mountain Lake and Goodclothes for women; OCI for juniors, young men and children, and Baby Crew for infants and toddlers. Goody’s sells apparel, accessories and gifts, and reported almost $1.3 billion in 2005 sales. For 2006, sales were flat to slightly down from 2005, though margins were up, Dabah said.

“We were profitable in 2006, more so than 2005,” he said. “The company performed as planned in 2006. It was a transition year. We are looking forward to 2007. We should see some good changes, especially in the second half.”

The company has a strategy in place to upgrade its image from small-town discounter to mainstream fashion choice by expanding private brands from 30 percent to 50 percent of inventory, adding shops-in-shops, introducing contemporary sportswear and beefing up its best national name brands, as well as special events.

Goody’s has opened a fashion office on Fifth Avenue in Man­hattan for fashion direction and product development. A private brand of women’s contemporary sportswear is in the works for the second half of this year.

With Turlinski’s arrival, “we are not changing the strategy,” Dabah said. “Chuck will execute the strategy we’ve put in place and continuously review the strategy. We are not starting from scratch.”

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