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HHGregg looking for new merchandising chief—again

November 17, 2014

HHGregg Inc. is about to embark on a search for its fourth merchandising manager in just over two years, the Indianapolis-based retailer disclosed Friday in a filing with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Jeffery Haines, who was hired for the position in March 2013, is resigning for personal reasons, the filing said.

“Mr. Haines will remain employed with the company for a brief period of time in order to assist in an orderly transition,” HHGregg officials said in the filing. “The board announced that it will commence a search for a new chief merchandising officer.”

HHGregg has seen turnover in many of its executitve posts in recent years. Haines' hiring had been expected to bring stability to the merchandising job.

Michael Larimer held the position from September 2009 through February 2012, when he was replaced by former Sears executive Douglas Moore. But Moore resigned just four months later, and Larimer filled the post again until Haines was hired.

Haines, 55, spent 24 years as a marketing manager for Chicago-based Sears Holding Co. before a seven-year stint at Illinois-based media-buying firm NSA Media, where he was CEO. He received $556,572 in compensation in the latest fiscal year with HHGregg.

Merchandising has been a trouble spot for HHGregg in recent years after it experienced a long period of steady growth fueled by big sales of flat-screen TVs. But video-segment sales have been decimated by brutal price competition and slack consumer demand.

HHGregg has put a greater emphasis on selling appliances and other home products, but has struggled in recent quarters. The company reported a loss of $10.4 million in its latest quarter compared with a profit of $3.7 million in the same quarter of 2013. Sales for store locations open at least a year—a key metric in retailing known as comparable-store sales—fell 11.4 percent.

HHGregg shares closed Friday at $6.20 each, down from $17.04 a year ago.

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