FORT MYERS — Despite recent lackluster results, women's retailer Chico's FAS announced a $300 million share buyback weeks after it boosted its quarterly dividend by 36%.
The move comes after Connecticut-based private equity firm Blue Harbour Group acquired a 5.6% stake in Chico's in the fall. The firm, led by Kohlberg, Kravis & Roberts alumnus Clifton Robbins, seeks out undervalued companies that could create shareholder value by implementing strategic or financial change.
Chico's is debt-free and reported nearly $300 million in cash and marketable securities on its balance sheet. On Nov. 26, Chico's told investors it suffered a net loss of $29 million after taking a charge for goodwill and trade-name impairments related to the 2011 acquisition of Boston Proper.
“We're pleased that we will have distributed approximately $283 million in cash to shareholders during fiscal 2013, reflecting meaningful year-to-date share repurchases and the increased December 2013 dividend declaration,” says Dave Dyer, CEO of Chico's, in a statement. “Since the inception of our share repurchase and dividend programs in 2010, we will have distributed approximately $690 million to our shareholders. Both the new authorization and the recent dividend increase underscore the company's commitment to returning excess cash to shareholders.”