New CEO named at Charming Shoppes

BENSALEM, Pa.  -- Charming Shoppes has announced the appointment of Anthony Romano as the company's president and CEO and a member of the company's board of directors, and the appointment of Brian Woolf as group president Lane Bryant, effective immediately.  

Michael Goldstein, chairman of the board of directors of Charming Shoppes commented, "We are extremely pleased to announce Tony's appointment as the president and CEO of Charming Shoppes and as a member of the board of directors.  Tony joined the company in February 2009 as our EVP global sourcing and business transformation and was promoted to the position of COO of the company in October 2010. Since then, he has also served as an acting chief executive officer assuming responsibility for the overall operations of the company. Over the last several months, we have conducted a broad CEO candidate search, including both external and internal candidates.  Tony's extensive experience managing and working in the many facets of apparel retail operations, and especially his knowledge and familiarity with Charming Shoppes in its current business turnaround mode were key considerations in his appointment.  We are delighted to have a person of Tony's caliber as our president and CEO."

Prior to serving as COO and EVP global sourcing and business transformation at Charming Shoppes, Romano served as EVP, chief supply chain officer for Ann Taylor from May 2005 through July 2008; as EVP corporate operations for Ann Taylor from March 2004 through May 2005; and as SVP global logistics for Ann Taylor from June 1997 through March 2004. Romano had previously spent eight years at Charming Shoppes in a variety of operational and financial roles before joining Ann Taylor in 1997.  He started his career as a certified public accountant with the predecessor firm to Ernst & Young.

Woolf has served as the president of the company's Lane Bryant and Cacique brands since July 2008.  Prior to joining Lane Bryant, he was chairman and CEO of Cache for eight years.  Previous to Cache, he served in various retail-industry management and merchandising positions for nearly three decades at a number of well-known retailers including Limited Stores, Lazarus, Bloomingdale's and Macy's.

The company also announced a net loss on a GAAP basis of $30.4 million for the quarter ended Jan. 29, compared with a loss of $28 million a year earlier. Total net sales increased 7% to $575.8 million for the fourth quarter ended Jan. 29, compared with $539 million for the prior year period. Same-store sales for the fourth quarter increased 9%, including an 11% increase at Lane Bryant; e-commerce sales increased 41%.

The retailer said it plans to open five to seven new stores in fiscal 2011 and relocate 10 to 13 stores.