The brain drain at Vince Holdings (NYSE: VNCE) is picking up speed. Three weeks after its CFO resigned, the CEO is now following her out the door. Shares of the retailer, which was already one of the worst performing stocks this year, dropped another 19% on the news and is now down over 60% for 2015. It has lost almost three quarters of its value since hitting a peak of nearly $39 a share last September.
The announcement that CEO Jill Granoff would leave once a replacement was found follows the abrupt resignation of the top financial executive at the end of June. The CFO resignation came after yet another disappointing quarter for the retailer.
Although Vince reported a 12% year-over-year increase in net sales for its first fiscal quarter and comparable sales growth of nearly 10%, it seems the fashion retailer's wholesale operations, which accounted for 64% of quarterly revenues, is in decline. Vince sells luxury women's apparel, but it has expanded in more recent periods to include menswear, children's clothes, and handbags.
Wholesale revenues rose less than 3% during the period while direct-to-consumer sales jumped more than 33%. The wholesale division primarily consists of sales to three major department store chains -- Saks, Neiman-Marcus, and Nordstrom -- while the DTC segment consists of a network of 32 full-price retail stores, 10 outlet stores, and its e-commerce platform.
The guidance it offered for the rest of the year also did not give investors much hope for improvement. Even though it is planning on adding another 10 or 11 stores to its operations, it is only forecasting a 3% rise in revenues at best.
Part of the problem lays in the fact that it expects to receive fewer full-price reorders on its merchandise, because its wholesale distributors already had sufficient inventory for the demand they anticipate. That sounds like merchandise is not moving, and with its revenues concentrated in only a few major chains, a disruption caused by any one of them could have a catastrophic impact on financial performance.
Granoff was at the helm of Vince when it went public almost two years ago, and net sales have risen at a compounded rate of almost 25% annually since 2011. But with sales now faltering and guidance for 2015 lowered, it may mean someone new is needed for the next phase of the company's life. Whether the revolving door in the executive suite keeps spinning, however, remains to be seen.
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Rich Duprey has no position in any stocks mentioned.