James Petty has been appointed chief executive officer of Vestis Retail Group LLC, operator of Bob’s Stores and Eastern Mountain Sports, effective July 8.

As ceo, Petty, who was most recently president of retail stores for Carter’s Inc., succeeds Mark Walsh, who will continue to serve as chairman. Vestis is owned by affiliates of Versa Capital Management LLC, the private equity firm of which Walsh is a managing director.

Petty will be based at Vestis’ headquarters in Meriden, Conn. EMS, focused on outdoor equipment and apparel, operates 68 stores in 12 states. Bob’s, a family apparel and footwear retailer, operates 35 stores in six states in the Northeast.

Prior to joining Carter’s in 2007, Petty held executive positions with Limited Too and Gap Inc. Limited Too later became Tween Brands, and its stores, now known as Justice, are part of Ascena Retail Group Inc.


Gregory Segall, ceo of Versa, commented, “This is a long-planned and natural leadership transition at this stage of Vestis’ development. Over the past five years, Mark has done a tremendous job in realizing the potential at Bob’s and he led the acquisition and initial transformation at EMS, positioning it for growth. We’re looking forward to Mark’s contributions to our existing and future investments in the Versa portfolio of companies.”

Versa acquired Bob’s from The TJX Cos. Inc. in 2008 and EMS from an investment group that included former ceo Will Manzer in November.

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