99 Cents Only Stores' family management team departs
A year after the discount retail chain was bought, Eric Schiffer, Jeff Gold and Howard Gold are out. Richard Anicetti becomes interim CEO and Michael Fung interim chief administrative officer.
Los Angeles private equity firm Ares Management and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board bought the retailer in a deal that closed in January 2012 and took the firm private. When the chain announced the deal, valued at about $1.6 billion, it said the family management team would remain in place.
But the City of Commerce company said this week that Chief Executive Eric Schiffer, Chief Administrative Officer Jeff Gold and Executive Vice President of Special Projects Howard Gold "are no longer employed by the company."
Reached on his cellphone, Jeff Gold said he could not comment on his departure or the changes at the company.
Richard Anicetti, who has served on the board of directors for eight months, has been named interim CEO. Michael Fung, former chief financial officer for Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s U.S. operations, is joining the company as interim chief administrative officer.
Anicetti also previously served as president and CEO of Food Lion grocery stores.
"The board of directors thanks Eric, Jeff, Howard and the rest of the Gold/Schiffer family for their contribution and is looking forward to working with Rick, Mike and our dedicated '99ers' to continue our growth trajectory while providing our customers with excellent value as well as a fun and exciting shopping experience," David Kaplan, chairman of the 99 Cents Only board and senior partner at Ares Management, said in a statement.
The company, founded in 1982, has benefited from bargain-hungry shoppers during the tough economy. The management changes were made to "execute on the company's previously announced accelerated growth strategy," the discounter said.
99 Cents Only Stores operates 311 stores in California, Texas, Arizona and Nevada. That's 22 more than when the acquisition deal was announced. For the quarter that ended Dec. 29, the discounter said net sales rose to $439.5 million, up 8.8% from the same period a year earlier. Same-store sales, a common industry measurement of sales at stores open at least a year, rose 4.3% when "calculated on a comparable 13-week period," the company said.