CEO Robertson Out At Stein Mart

Dawn Robertson has resigned as Stein Mart CEO and chief merchandising officer, and as a member of the company’s board of directors.

Stein Mart has appointed D. Hunt Hawkins, president and COO, as interim CEO and said it would initiate a search for a new chief merchandising officer.

“Some of the sales initiatives that have been developed under Dawn’s leadership are important for our future, and we will continue to cultivate them to drive sales in this challenging retail environment,” said Jay Stein, chairman of Stein Mart’s board. “Hunt has been a valued leader at Stein Mart for over 20 years. The board and I are confident in his ability to guide our associates and to continue implementing our strong sales strategies.”

The company reported that its initial comparable store sales for the third quarter, which ends October 29, decreased 4% through September 27 compared to the same period last year. Sales results have improved somewhat in September, Stein Mart noted, after a challenging start and what it referred to as “several missteps” in August. The third quarter will include an approximate $1.6 million charge connected to Robertson’s departure.

“We believe that several of the new merchandising strategies that have been developed this year will positively impact our future sales,” Hawkins said. ” However, implementation has been too rapid and has been challenging for our customers. It is important that we remain focused on meeting the needs of our existing customers as we drive change.”