Schoenfeld Exits PacSun


As of Friday, March 17, 2017

Gary Schoenfeld, the chief executive who steered mall retailer Pacific Sunwear of California through a massive restructuring post–Great Recession and a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2016, has left the company.

It was announced that James Gulmi will run PacSun until a permanent replacement for Schoenfeld joins the company. Gulmi was most recently chief financial officer of Genesco, the owner of mall footwear retailer Journeys.

“We are grateful to Gary Schoenfeld for his significant contributions to PacSun over the past eight years, including steering PacSun through a successful restructuring in only five months. Now, as a stronger and more competitive company, PacSun is embarking on its next chapter of growth,” a PacSun statement said. “Mr. Gulmi is extremely well-qualified, bringing extensive knowledge of the specialty retail space and deep financial acumen. We are very pleased that Jim also will be joining the PacSun board of directors on a permanent basis.” The company declined further comment.

Schoenfeld’s departure comes six months after PacSun emerged from bankruptcy. In a bankruptcy statement, PacSun owner Golden Gate Capital announced that it had converted more than 65 percent of its term-loan debt into the reorganized company’s equity. It also provided a minimum of $20 million in additional capital to PacSun. Wells Fargo also provided a five-year $100 million revolving line of credit.

In a statement, Schoenfeld said that the investment firm’s life preserver was exactly what the retailer needed.

“PacSun is on the right path to success during this period of unprecedented change in the marketplace. Looking ahead, we plan to continue our brand transformation and deliver our customers the most relevant specialty apparel and sneakers along with the best brands and great style that define PacSun and our unique 34-year heritage. Our entire team is energized as we enter the important holiday season and look further ahead to 2017,” Schoenfeld said.

Schoenfeld, a career apparel business and retail executive, joined PacSun in 2009. It was his job to return PacSun to its position as one of the top shops at the mall. In May 2011, the retailer posted its first positive same-store sales in four years. However, stronger steps were needed to guarantee the continued financial health of the company. December 2011, he announced that the store would cut its giant fleet of more than 800 stores by up to 200 stores. By September, the retailer was operating 583 stores.

During his time helming PacSun, the retailer also diversified the retailer’s merchandise mix, from surfwear to new looks in streetwear and contemporary fashion.