ANAHEIM, Calif. — Pacific Sunwear chief executive officer Seth Johnson said Wednesday that the company is looking to a more trend-conscious assortment of denim, T-shirts and footwear to boost sales in the junior women’s apparel division.

Speaking at the annual shareholders meeting at company headquarters here, Johnson said the new items would be in stores by mid-June. He cited poor merchandising decisions in the category for a 32.4 percent drop in first-quarter profits. Net income for the quarter ended April 30 fell to $11.9 million, or 16 cents per diluted share, from $17.6 million, or 23 cents per diluted share.

“We think the girls business is very underdeveloped … particularly in jeans and T-shirts,” Johnson said, adding that finding the right mix of junior sneakers has been difficult.

Juniors accounted for 44 percent of the retailer’s total 2005 sales of $1.39 billion.

Johnson detailed a girl’s initiative that involves driving volume by merchandising a new, more trendy mix of denim, improving the T-shirt business through a “better surf-skate assortment” and expanding the footwear mix to feature more “fashion” brands such as Mia and Sbicca. Sales of junior swimwear and shorts have been strong, he said.

During PacSun’s first-quarter conference call last week, PacSun division president Thomas Kennedy said, “I think, quite honestly, to get real momentum in juniors, I have to get Ts right this quarter. We had a really great run with novelty Ts — [then] probably not an aggressive enough exit strategy and replacement strategy for that volume. The second thing is that we are finding that we are probably overpenetrated in color and underpenetrated in some core colors like white, black and heather gray.”

Kennedy said the company is going to continue to reinforce that “we are a destination for people like Roxy, Volcom, Element and Billabong on the girl’s side, which have traditionally provided a really good core for us.”

PacSun has sought to capture a larger slice of the junior women’s business. The company rolled out a new store prototype that “features a more aspirational look,” Johnson said. Stores boast lighter, more feminine interior colors and bold window mannequins swathed in women’s apparel.

This story first appeared in the May 18, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Nineteen of PacSun’s 820 stores have been converted to the new model. Another 40 or so are slated for conversion by yearend.

Johnson also unveiled the new Pac­Sun advertisements at the meeting, which was over in less than an hour. The ads utilize a group-snapshot style of photography similar to that used by Roxy.