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Retailer, after drop in sales, profits, loses top exec

Diane Ellis was named Chico’s brand president in October 2016.

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  • | 9:46 a.m. November 29, 2018
Courtesy. Diane Ellis was named Chico’s brand president in October 2016.
Courtesy. Diane Ellis was named Chico’s brand president in October 2016.
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FORT MYERS — After a little more than two years at the helm of the Chico’s brand, a unit of Fort Myers-based women’s retailer Chico’s FAS, Diane Ellis has left the company.

The departure of Ellis, named Chico’s brand president in October 2016, was announced Nov. 28, the same day the company released third-quarter earnings, which included a 10.2% drop in Chico’s brand same-store sales.

In addition, total company sales and profits were down and fell short of Wall Street expectations. Net income fell from $16.7 million in the 2017 third quarter to $6.5 million in the 2018 third quarter, which ended Nov. 3, according to the earnings report. Net sales, meanwhile, impacted by 43 store closings, dropped year-over-year from $532.3 million to $499.9 million, the report adds. In addition to Chico’s, brands the company operates include White House | Black Market and Soma.

Ellis’s departure is effective Nov. 30. The company, according to a separate statement, has launched a search to find a new Chico's brand president. In the interim, Chico’s FAS President and CEO Shelley Broader will lead the unit.

"We are committed to improving the performance of our Chico's brand, and we believe this leadership transition and the merchandising and marketing changes underway, as separately announced today, are necessary to reinvigorate broad-based consumer excitement and growth for the brand,” Broader says in the statement. "We appreciate Diane's dedicated service over the last two years and wish her the best."

Ellis was CEO of The Limited for three years before joining Chico’s. Before that she was president and COO of Brooks Brothers.

Chico’s FAS operates 1,431 stores in the U.S. and Canada and sells merchandise through 83 international franchise locations in Mexico.



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