Byline: Melanie Kletter / With contributions from Jean E. Palmieri

NEW YORK — Pacific Sunwear of California said Thursday that Michael J. Scandiffio, executive vice president of merchandising, has resigned.
The news came the same day that the teen retailer reported March same-store sales slipped 4.1 percent due to poor spring and summer apparel sales. PacSun also said it would take a one-time charge related to its planned move to a new distribution facility, which will lower expected earnings per share in the first quarter.
Following the news, the company’s shares dropped nearly 8 percent to $23.77 in over-the-counter trading.
“I was recruited to spearhead a lot of changes they wanted in design, creative and product development,” Scandiffo said. “We just got to a difference of opinion on the pace and scale of changes.” He said he was “not at liberty” to discuss his future plans, but he intends to remain in apparel retailing.
Carl Womack, chief financial officer, told WWD that Scandiffio’s position has not yet been filled but some of his responsibilities will be taken over by Heidi Muther, who has been named division merchandise manager for young men’s. Muther, who was hired at PacSun in 1996, most recently worked at the company’s d.e.m.o. division.
“We are moving her back into the area where we need the most help,” Womack said during a conference call.
Scandiffio joined the teen retailer in August 1999 after stints at Brooks Bros. and American Eagle Outfitters. A company executive said that Scandiffio does not yet have another position.
“Although sales improved as the month progressed, March sales were significantly below plan,” Greg Weaver, PacSun’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “We believe weather was a contributing factor as business in the Midwest and Northeast was particularly difficult.”
Comps at its core PacSun stores were down 5.3 percent, while same-store sales at its d.e.m.o. division gained 13.1 percent. Pants and shorts were notably weak, while some juniors categories such as capri pants, dresses and tank tops, as well as footwear and accessories, performed well, the company said.
While the Anaheim, Calif.-based firm has been one of the best-performing teen retailers in recent years, the company lately has had some difficulties and also reported a same-store sales slip in February. It now has 615 stores, including 82 d.e.m.o units and 53 PacSun outlets.
As a result of lower-than-expected sales and the one-time charge, the company said first-quarter earnings in the quarter ending in May are now likely to be in the range of 2 to 4 cents a share, well below the 20 cents Wall Street analysts were expecting.