Bonnie Brooks is back in the corner office — at least for now — having taken on the role of interim chief executive officer at the struggling Chico’s FAS Inc.
The former vice chair, president and ceo of Hudson’s Bay Co. has been on Chico’s board since 2016 and takes over from Shelley Broader, who resigned as president and ceo and stepped down from the board.
Chico’s engaged Herbert Mines Associates to find a permanent leader. The search committee of Chico’s board is chaired by Bill Simon, former ceo of Walmart U.S.
“Bonnie is a successful retail executive and merchant who has led the turnaround of other fashion retailers, and we are pleased to have her step into the ceo role on an interim basis,” said chairman David Walker. “Her experience in the industry as well as her time on the Chico’s FAS board give her a deep understanding of our brands and customers. We are confident that Bonnie will be able to quickly step into the business to benefit the sales, products and merchandising across all of the company’s brands as the board continues its search for a permanent ceo with a strong apparel track record.”
Walker also thanked Broader for her contributions over the past three-and-a-half years.
Brooks said: “One of our company’s key competitive advantages is the loyalty and strength of the core customer. We look forward to tapping into this further, and more aggressively, to enhance the growth and positioning of our Chico’s, White House|Black Market, Soma and our newest brand, TellTale.”
Chico’s has 1,418 stores in the U.S. and Canada, but has been struggling to gain traction. The total company’s comparable sales fell 4.9 percent last year on top of a 7.7 percent drop in 2017. Net sales slipped to $2.1 billion from $2.3 billion.
The company is also in the process of shedding stores, with plans to shutter at least 250 U.S. locations over the next three years.