US Bon-Ton Stores is on the outlook for a new CEO

Brendan+Hoffman+2011+Lupus+Foundations+America+SEU-KRYXa-GlUS Bon-Ton Stores will have to look for a new CEO as of next February, because the actual CEO Brendan L. Hoffmann (45) will leave the company when his contract is expiring

Hoffman has been a contender to replace Myron “Mike” Ullman as chief of US J.C. Penney Co., but doesn’t seem to be the prime choice at this moment. Penney directors have narrowed the search to a handful of candidates are weeks away from choosing a new leader. No one has been offered the job yet, but at a board meeting the search was discussed last week and progress noted.

Hoffman’s employment agreement with Bon-Ton prevents him from working for certain competitors, namely Macy’s Dillard’s Inc., Kohl’s Corp., Belk Inc. and J.C. Penney – for 12 months after his agreement is terminated.

The news that Hoffman would not renew his contract – and stepping down on the company’s board – with Bon-Ton popped up as the regional department store chain reported a sharp drop in holiday sales, pulling its profit down from USD 74.4 million to USD 61.3 million. Net sales fell from USD 1.02 billion to USD 914.9 million. Excluding newly opened or closed stores, sales fell 7.3 %. Despite these disappointing results, Hoffman is credited with several important initiatives at Bon-Ton since he became CEO in February 2012. These include the use of data to better manage inventory and a move to stock stores with merchandise more appropriate to their region, so that stores in cold weather climates get more coats and sweaters. Since the beginning of the year Bon-Ton’s shares depreciated 40 %.

Before joining Bon-Ton, Hoffman served as President and CEO of Lord & Taylor, a division of Hudson’s Bay Company (2008 to 2012). Previously, he spent six years as President  & CEO of Neiman Marcus Group’s online business.

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