Key Appointments at Hot Topic, Wet Seal, Charming Shoppes

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Hot Topic, The Wet Seal and Charming Shoppes have all brought in new executives at the helm, and note other appointments as well.

Hot Topic

Teen retailer Hot Topic Inc has brought in board member Lisa Harper as its new chief executive, replacing Betsy McLaughlin who has resigned after more than a decade at the helm. McLaughlin will continue to assist in transition matters for the next three months the company said.

The change comes after the retailer, which operates 804 Hot Topic and Torrid stores, hired a consulting and financial advisory firm to review its business and operations. And earlier this month the company said it swung to a full-year loss of $8.2m, as same-store sales fell 2.1%.

The Wet Seal

The Wet Seal Inc has hired former Old Navy executive Ken Seipel as its new president and chief operating officer to steer the next phase of growth at the teen apparel retailer.

Seipel will oversee the company’s store operations, information technology, real estate, construction, and merchandise planning and allocation functions–and will report directly to CEO Susan McGalla. He joins the company from regional general merchandise discount retailer Pamida Discount Stores, where he was president and chief merchandise/marketing officer.

Previously, Seipel served as executive vice president of stores, operations and store design for the Old Navy division of Gap Inc. He has also held various merchandising and operations management roles with Target Corporation, Shopko Stores, and JCPenney.

The Wet Seal, Inc. has 533 stores in 47 states and Puerto Rico, including 450 Wet Seal stores and 83 Arden B stores. For more company information, visit

Charming Shoppes

Retail group Charming Shoppes has hired Anthony M Romano as the company’s president and CEO, along with a series of other appointments.

Romano replaces James Fogarty, who stepped down from the CEO position in October last year. Meanwhile, Brian Woolf was hired as group president of the company’s Lane Bryant unit.

In other appointments: Paula Price, the executive vice president and CFO of Ahold, was appointed to its board of directors; Jonathon Graub was promoted to executive vice president real estate; Lou Ann Bett was tapped as senior vice president and GMM; and Joan Munnelly is now senior vice president merchandising of the Catherines brand.

Charming Shoppes recently reported that for the year ended January 29, net loss narrowed to $54 million or $0.47 per share, while sales slipped 0.1% to $2.062 billion. Same-store sales increased 3% for the 12 months.

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