Byline: Anne D’Innocenzio

NEW YORK — Mossimo Giannulli, chairman and chief executive officer of Mossimo Inc., said Friday he “needs operational help and experience,” and has embarked on a search for a president.
“I am looking for a really good operational head who will be in partnership with me,” said Giannulli, who started the search a few weeks ago to fill the new post. “I want someone who will help us grow a long time, and stay for a while, not someone who will just come in and out of this joint.”
In a phone interview from his Irvine, Calif., headquarters, Giannulli said he has “interviewed a bunch” of candidates in the industry, and hopes to make a decision in the next few months. He has not decided on a search firm yet.
Giannulli’s company has seen some rough times since it went public in February 1996, making a splash on the stock market. The stock, which went public at $20 a share, quickly climbed to as high as 50 1/8, but then collapsed to as low as 5 7/8 because of disappointing earnings. On Friday, it closed at 9 1/8, down 1/8, on the New York Stock Exchange.
In the second quarter ended June 30, Mossimo, reported earnings fell 98.9 percent to $45,000, less than 1 cent a share, from $4 million, or 26 cents, in the year-ago quarter. Sales declined to $18 million from $25.6 million. Giannulli had attributed the poor results to the company’s inventory surplus at retail and the high cost of replacing slow-selling denim items with new merchandise.
On Friday, he said he is starting to see improved sell-throughs for the back-to-school period, attributing it to the firm’s efforts to improve sourcing and computer systems, as well as streamlined products in both men’s and women’s.
For spring, Mossimo has dramatically stepped up its denim offerings in both men’s and women’s and, as reported, has signed a licensing deal with GFT for a men’s tailored clothing line. Giannulli said he hopes to sign a deal with GFT to produce a sophisticated contemporary women’s sportswear collection. The firm had done some items in this vein in-house for a few seasons, but scrapped the idea last year.