January 30, 2004, 12:00 AM

Guild hires a new president; 2003 sales up 23%

Guild has hired Mike Baum, former CEO of education software developer and direct marketer Renaissance Learning, as president. He will report to founder and CEO Toni Sikes.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

December retail sales at Guild LLC, operators of home furnishings site Guild.com, were up 17%, the company reports. For the year, revenues were up 23% while operating costs were down 10%. The Madison, WI-based company did not release sales numbers. The company also reported that it achieved profitability in the fourth quarter. Biggest sellers were furniture, lighting and home décor items.

"Guild`s fourth quarter performance completes a year of steady growth for our company, and represents the first profitable quarter in the history of Guild," says Toni Sikes, CEO and founder. "We posted record sales while operating with far lower costs in 2003, strengthening our formula for building a successful and enduring business."

The company also has hired Mike Baum as president. Baum was CEO of Renaissance Learning, education software developer and direct marketer. Baum will have full management responsibility for the company, including marketing, publishing, finance and operations and will report to Sikes. Sikes will focus on long-term strategies for growth and lead efforts to diversify the direct-to-consumer business.

During Baum’s tenure as CEO of Renaissance Learning, the company grew from $20 million in sales to over $100 million.

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