Coldwater Creek’s Pence Back As CEO

Dennis Pence has replaced Daniel Griesemer as president/CEO of women’s apparel and accessories seller Coldwater Creek, the company announced today.

Coldwater said Griesemer, who joined the company in 2001 and had been president/CEO since late October 2007, resigned from the company. No reason was provided for the resignation.

Pence, who will remain Coldwater Creek’s chairman, co-founded Coldwater Creek in 1984 as a catalog company. Pence served as CEO from its founding through December 2000, and again from September 2002 until October 2007.

With Pence as Coldwater Creek’s CEO, the company grew to a 355-store chain and generated more than $1.0 billion in net sales in fiscal 2008.

But the company’s profits have been slipping: Coldwater Creek recorded a second-quarter net loss of $4.9 million, compared with net income of $3.1 million in second-quarter 2008. The company’s net loss resulted primarily from rising cost of sales – $149.5 million for the quarter just ended, compared with $145.8 million a year ago.

Multichannel Merchant sister publication DIRECT reported that during an earnings call last month, Griesemer said the company was planning to boost third-quarter catalog circulation by 40% compared to the third quarter of 2008.

But Direct also reported that Coldwater Creek may be using catalogs more as a driver for store traffic rather than a traditional mail order vehicle.

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