Vera Bradley Inc. is looking to fill its corner office.

Michael Ray said he would step down as chief executive officer of the accessories retailer once a successor is found. The board has hired Spencer Stuart to conduct a search.

The company also said its first-quarter earnings fell 27.2 percent to $9.2 million, or 23 cents a share, from $12.6 million, or 31 cents, a year earlier. Earnings were 2 cents better than the 21 cents analysts projected, but the firm also cut its outlook for the year and its stock fell 11 percent to $20 in after hours trading today.

Sales rose 5 percent to $123 million from $117.2 million.

Ray’s been with the retailer for more than 15 years and took the company public in 2010. During his tenure, annual sales nearly doubled to $541 million.


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The ceo said, “It is the right time for the company to pursue a new leader who has the extensive retail and brand management experience that Vera Bradley needs to advance into its next phase of growth and success.”

Vera Bradley cut its earnings projection for the year to $1.74 to $1.78 from the $1.83 to $1.88 it envisioned in March.

Founded in 1982, Vera Bradley sells a range of handbags, accessories, luggage, eyewear and gifts.

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