December 16, 2011, 12:30 PM

Struggling apparel retailer Christopher & Banks appoints a new president

The company tasks retail veteran Joel Waller with restoring profitability.

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Women’s apparel retailer Christopher & Banks Corp. announced this week that it has hired retail veteran Joel N. Waller to serve as its president for a one-year term. The company sells women’s and petite-sized apparel at and plus-sized styles at It operates approximately 761 stores in 45 states under the same brand names. 

Christopher & Banks CEO Larry Barenbaum says Waller, a retail consultant who previously was chief executive of Wet Seal Inc. and Wilson’s Leather, will help put the retailer back on a profitable track. The retailer in November said it would close approximately 100 of its 761 stores and lay off about 7% of employees at its headquarters. It will also convert a number of Christopher & Banks and CJ Banks stores into dual-format stores that will sell missy, petite and plus-size apparel under one roof.

Earlier this week, the retailer announced that the company’s Board of Directors had decided to suspend payment of its quarterly dividend given the retailer’s recent financial performance. The company will formally announced its third quarter results next week but said same-store sales were flat for the quarter and that it expected its gross margin to be in the range of 21.3% to 21.7%, down from 35.9% a year ago.

“Based on Joel’s extensive retail experience, coupled with his operational, product sourcing and management background, we believe that he will be highly effective in assisting us in revitalizing the business and getting the company back on track to profitability.”

Christopher & Banks Corp. is No. 277 in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide.


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