NEW YORK — Rick Leto, a former top merchant at Kohl’s, will be named president and chief merchandising officer of Galyans, WWD has learned.
“There will be a personnel announcement early next week,” said a Galyans spokeswoman on Friday. She declined to specify. One source said the announcement on Leto could be made today.
Leto was executive vice president and general merchandise manager of apparel and accessories at Kohl’s and a key player in that chain’s explosive growth during the Nineties through 2002. He joined the chain in 1996, but left last March, following a difficult 2003 for Kohl’s, marked by merchandise problems and margin erosion.
Prior to Kohl’s, he was a senior merchant at Macy’s East. He’s a 31-year veteran of retailing.
At Galyans, Leto moves into a new number two slot and reportedly will be handling the merchandising, marketing, planning and allocation areas. He joins a management team led by Ed Holman, chief executive officer and the former president of Bloomingdale’s.
Holman, who as Galyans’ top operations executive supervises real estate, stores, finance, human resources, information technology and logistics, was promoted from president to ceo last March, succeeding Robert Mang who left for personal reasons. Mang was the firm’s top merchant.
The Plainfield, Ind.-based Galyans is majority-owned by Freeman Spogli, which is expected to eventually try to sell the chain. Galyans specializes in apparel, outerwear, footwear and equipment for over 150 sports and outdoor activities. The chain was founded in 1960 in and purchased by The Limited in 1995. Freeman Spogli bought a majority interest from The Limited in 1999, and the company completed an initial public offering in June 2001.
Galyans operates 47 stores, ranging from 80,000 to 100,000 square feet in 21 states and has been steadily expanding each year, including opening nine units last year. The chain initially rolled into strip malls, however in the past few years evolved into an anchor store for major malls and lifestyle centers as well.
Last year was a tough one for Galyans, reporting net earnings of $3.6 million compared with $18.7 million the year before. Sales rose 15.6 percent to $690.7 million, but comparable-store sales decreased 5.8 percent.