Aeropostale Shares Slump After It Says Top Design And Merchandise Chief Is Leaving

By Andria ChengMarketWatch Pulse

Aeropostale Inc. shares fell 6.2% on Friday after the teen clothing retailer said its top design and merchandising chief Emilia Fabricant is leaving, sparking worries about the timing and uncertainty of its turnaround prospects. Fabricant, who joined in 2012, has failed to reverse more than four years of negative comparable sales despite introducing such fashion lines as YouTube star Bethany Mota's collection, said Jefferies analyst Randal Konik. Aeropostale said its senior merchandising team will report to CEO Julian Geiger, and said it doesn't have plans to seek a replacement for Fabricant. While her departure isn't surprising given the company's performance, Konik said it likely signals that the company's weak results in the first quarter have "extended well into" the second quarter, raising concerns about its back-to-school merchandise. Aeropostale, which in March said its target customer is a "flirty tomboy," has previously said that a new merchandise mix and other key strategic changes will be introduced during the back-to-school period. The stock has lost almost half of its value in the past year and most recently traded at $1.86. Related: Aeropostale's new target customer is a 'flirty tomboy.'

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