Tilly’s Inc. is replacing the executive who guided it through its initial public offering in 2011 with one who just led The West Seal Inc. through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization that culminated last March in its sale.
The action sports retailer announced Oct. 8 that President and CEO Daniel Griesemer stepped down Wednesday and will be replaced Oct. 12 by Edmond Thomas, who most left Wet Seal Inc. in August. Thomas will also replace Griesemer on ZUMZ’s board of directors.
Thomas served as Tilly’s president and co-CEO from September 2005 to October 2007, when he left the retailer to take the same post at Wet Seal. He served in that role until January, 2011, when he joined KarpReilly LLC, a private investment firm focused on retail and consumer brands whose holdings include Stio and Point6. In September, 2014 he rejoined Wet Seal as CEO and director and led it through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization that culminated in March with its sale in March to Versa Capital Management LLC, which also controls retailers Sports Chalet, Eastern Mountain Sports and Bob’s. Thomas left Wet Seal in August.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead Tillys again, and in such a dynamic time in the history of the company,” said Thomas. “Tillys has a strong history of success and leadership in the industry, and I am excited to build upon that foundation.”
TLYS’ share price rebounded from its all-time low of $6.88 last November to a 23-month high of $16.70 in March amid signs that teenage spending was rebounding. In early January, the company upgraded its guidance for the fourth quarter ending Jan. 31 after seeing same store sales growing for the first time in 10 quarters. But TLYS shares have given up all those gain since May when the company reported a sharp and unexpected drop in traffic at its older stores. It has since reported two straight quarters of flattish comp store sales.
TLYS share prices surged about 7.5 percent Thursday on news of Thomas’s appointment, but he will be hard pressed to deliver. Last month, Zumiez Inc. and Pacific Sunwear of California, which compete head to head with Zumiez at dozens of U.S. malls, reported their comp stores sales declined 4.5 and 6.0 percent respectively. Tillys operates 219 stores, while West Seal operates 173.