BOSTON — Filene’s Basement chief executive officer Alan R. Schlesinger has resigned after a two-year stint at the helm of the discounter.
Jim Rudd, chief operating officer for the Boston-based off-price store, will assume Schlesinger’s duties until a successor is appointed. Schlesinger could not be reached for comment at press time.
James McGrady, chief financial officer of Value City Department Stores, Filene’s Basement’s Columbus, Ohio-based parent company, cited differences in corporate vision for the split and said the firm expects to name Schlesinger’s successor at the beginning of February. He declined to discuss candidates except to say the company would likely choose outside talent.
“We do have some senior merchants with Filene’s Basement, but really we need to have someone who can step in as the head merchant,” he noted.
McGrady said the chain, which Value City purchased out of bankruptcy in 2000, will adhere to its strategy of buying fashion brand names on a closeout basis, rather than developing private label programs as other discounters and some off-pricers have done. He characterized the 19-unit chain, which operates stores in five states east of the Mississippi, as poised for growth.
“The chain has a great trademark and we would like to see that promoted as quickly as possible in major cities,” he said. The company has been mum so far on expansion plans this year. During Schlesinger’s tenure, the chain added two doors.
For the nine months ended Nov. 2, Filene’s Basement’s sales were up 6.8 percent, to $224.3 million, and ahead 1.9 percent on a comparable-store basis. Same-store sales tumbled 5.3 percent in November. December sales have not been released yet.
Prior to joining Filene’s Basement, Schlesinger, 59, served as chairman, president and ceo of Lamonts Apparel, a Kirkland, Wash.-based discount chain acquired by Gottschalks in 2000.