DUESSELDORF, Germany, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Canadian retailer
Hudson's Bay Co (HBC) sought to ease concern that the
abrupt resignation of its chief executive could herald cuts at
its struggling German department store chain Kaufhof.
HBC said on Friday that outgoing CEO Gerald Storch was
stepping down from Nov. 1 to return to his advisory firm Storch
Advisors but did not disclose the reasons for his departure.
"I still firmly believe in the future of the department
stores," interim CEO Richard Baker said in a memo to staff seen
by Reuters. "And of course we are sticking with our investment
and growth strategy in Europe.
Storch's departure comes at a time when the company is under
pressure from activist shareholder Jonathan Litt to take steps
to improve stock performance.
It has said in the past that it was committed to its
European investments and would keep investing in Kaufhof even as
the store chain heads for another annual loss.
Hudson's Bay bought Kaufhof for 2.8 billion euros ($3.3
billion) from German retailer Metro in 2015 but has
struggled to turn it around.
Two people familiar with the matter told Reuters in July
that Euler Hermes had cut back its trade credit insurance for
suppliers of Kaufhof.
The store chain is seeking to negotiate a new wage deal that
it has said will make its cost structure more competitive and
help to safeguard about 21,500 jobs.
($1 = 0.8487 euros)
(Reporting by Matthias Inverardi; Writing by Maria Sheahan;
Editing by David Goodman)
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