Vans, Inc. today announced that Andrew J. Greenebaum, Chief Financial Officer, has decided to leave his position for personal reasons, effective as of August 30, 2003. In conjunction with Mr. Greenebaum’s resignation, Scott J. Blechman has been appointed the Company’s Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Blechman, a certified public accountant, has served as Vice President of Finance at Vans since July 2001 and Controller since September 2002. Mr. Blechman was formerly Vice President and Corporate Controller of Castle & Cooke, a large real estate developer that was publicly traded at the time of his employment. Prior to joining Vans, he was Vice President of Finance and Controller of eCompanies, LLC.
Vans also stated that first quarter same-store sales are currently trending up approximately 13% and consequently, the Company is now comfortable with the high end of its previously announced first quarter fiscal 2004 base business earnings per share guidance of $0.55 to $0.58.(a).
Gary H. Schoenfeld, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vans, said, “Andrew has played an important role in the Company’s turnaround and while we are sorry to see him leave, we thank him for his considerable contributions and wish him well in his future endeavors. Over the past few years we have assembled a strong financial team and instituted a number of operational controls that have benefited our performance and set the stage for renewed earnings growth.(a) Looking ahead, I have a tremendous amount of confidence in Scott’s ability to further build on what we have accomplished and help lead Vans into the future.”
Mr. Greenebaum commented, “I have truly enjoyed my time at Vans and believe it is one of the most innovative and authentic footwear companies in the industry. I would like to extend my thanks to Gary and everyone at Vans for their hard work, support and dedication during this period. The positive momentum in the business continues and I believe the pieces are in place for long-term success.(a) While this was a difficult decision for me to make, I believe the timing is right and I wish the Company all the best.”
Commenting on current business Mr. Schoenfeld added, “The strong comp turnaround that we experienced in the fourth quarter has continued thus far into the first quarter and the beginning of back-to-school, with very positive reaction to our new footwear and apparel resulting in double digit comp gains.(a) We feel confident that we will achieve the high end of our previous earnings guidance for the base business in the first quarter as outlined in Table 1.”(a)
The Company also stated that it has reached resolution on three of the five remaining skateparks it has actively been discussing with landlords with a fourth agreement still possible prior to the end of the first quarter. The terms of these transactions are consistent with previous guidance, but an earlier resolution of negotiations for some of the remaining parks may result in a shift in the timing of the expected lease termination costs associated with those negotiations from the second quarter to the first quarter, assuming the negotiations are completed by the end of the quarter.
Mr. Schoenfeld concluded, “I continue to be pleased with the progress we are making on several of our key initiatives. The strong comp store gains validate both the ongoing strength of our brand and our heightened commitment to great product and we believe also bodes well for our growth prospects for the balance of the year.”(a)
Vans will be presenting at the B Riley investor conference in New York City at 8:00 a.m., Eastern Time, on August 14, 2003. The Company’s presentation will be web cast at www.brileyco.com.