Michael Barnes, who headed Signet Jewelers Ltd. and orchestrated its $1.46 billion acquisition of Zale Corp. earlier this year, has been named chairman, president and chief executive officer of Francesca’s Holdings Corp., the Houston-based apparel and accessories retailer.
As president and ceo, Barnes succeeds Neill [FOLO: Neill] Davis, who has resigned. Greg Brenneman, who has served as chairman since 2010, has been named lead director.
Barnes became ceo of Signet in 2011 following a more than 25-year career at Fossil Group, where he was president, chief operating officer and a director for three years beginning in 2007.
Francesca’s disclosed the appointment as it provided preliminary results for the third quarter ended Nov. 1. The company said it expects net sales of approximately $87 million for the period, with comparable sales down 6 percent and earnings of 17 cents a diluted share, consistent with the lower end of its most recent guidance.
On average, analysts expected sales of $88.4 million and EPS of 18 cents.
Shares were up 8.2 percent to $12.50 in pre-market action Friday.
Brenneman described Barnes as “a world-class retail executive with a proven history of driving growth at specialty retailing businesses. His ability to set and execute transformational strategic plans, along with his track record of creating value for shareholders, make him the right executive to capitalize fully on Francesca’s solid growth platform.”
Francesca’s operates 538 stores in 47 states and an e-commerce site at francescas.com.
Jeffries analyst Randal Konik pointed out that Signet’s share price almost price during Barnes’s term as ceo and “we are optimistic that he will be able to add value to [Francesca’s.] Importantly, we think Mr. Barnes can leverage his extensive experience at Signet Jewelers to drive improvement’s in [Francesca’s] jewelry business, where the company has been experiencing chopping results for the past few quarters.”
CL King analyst Steven Marotta wrote in a research notes that Francesca’s results “are highly likely to get worse before improving.” He added that the third-quarter figures, “despite being at the low end [of guidance]…are at least ‘within range.’”