ROCHELLE PARK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Avenue Stores, LLC (“AVENUE®”, or “the Company”), announced today that it has named veteran retailer Mark Walsh as Chief Executive Officer of the AVENUE® brand of women’s plus-size fashion apparel, footwear and accessories, completing the evolution and expansion of the Company’s senior leadership team.
Walsh succeeds Liz Williams who has led AVENUE® through an extensive renewal and profitable growth transformation over the past six years. Williams will be taking time off after which she may evaluate other opportunities.
Walsh, a board member who began advising the company in 2017, joins a strong new management team that has grown over the past six months, including the appointments of Nancy Viall as Chief Merchandising Officer and Steven Silbaugh as Chief Marketing Officer in November 2017, and more recently, Scott Hampson as Chief Operating Officer and David Rhoads as Chief Financial Officer.
Williams said, “With the renewed leadership team in place, it’s the right time for me to step back, while being confident the Company is in Mark’s capable hands.”
“We are delighted to welcome Mark Walsh, a veteran operator of brand name retail franchises, to AVENUE®,” said Gregory L. Segall, of Versa Capital Management, LLC (“Versa”), AVENUE®’s owner. “Having worked closely with Mark over the years, we have first-hand knowledge of his ability to collaboratively lead organizations and grow businesses, and the board is confident he is an excellent choice to lead AVENUE® as it pursues its next stage of growth and enhanced profitability.”
“AVENUE® has fully embraced its loyal customers who were historically underserved by the fashion and apparel industries,” said Mark Walsh. “As I have come to know the Company and its team more closely over the last six months, I am grateful for all of Liz’s efforts and I look forward to working alongside this dynamic management group to help them continue to serve our important customers and build upon all the great work they and the entire AVENUE® organization have accomplished during Versa’s ownership.”
Segall continued, “Under Liz Williams, AVENUE® has been one of our most successful investments. She transformed the Company from a stagnant retailer with many underutilized assets into a profitable omni-channel enterprise, achieving substantial success in the face of challenging and changing retail market conditions. We wish her only the best in the next chapter of her life.”
“My partnership with Versa has been a successful and mutually beneficial one, and I’m glad to have helped restore AVENUE® to a leadership position in women’s plus-size apparel,” Williams stated. “We have a strong brand, loyal customers, a vibrant and growing omni-channel presence and resilient store network, all supported by great people throughout the organization who will help drive this company to its next phase of growth.”
Prior to joining AVENUE®, Walsh’s executive leadership experiences in retail and apparel include roles as CEO of Bob’s Stores and Eastern Mountain Sports, Group President of Liz Claiborne, and Executive Vice President of e-commerce and Strategic Planning at J. Crew Group, Inc. He has also held executive positions in marketing and finance for Citibank, N.A. and Pepsico, Inc.
About AVENUE® Stores, LLC
For over 30 years, Avenue® has been a leader in the fashion industry for plus size clothing. From its inception as Sizes Unlimited in 1983, AVENUE® has maintained a commitment to its customers to offer quality plus sized clothing in sizes 14-32. While AVENUE® grows and changes, our commitment remains the same. We strive to offer the best merchandise…the best value…the best store environment…the best service… the best everything for our customers. More information is available at www.AVENUE.com.
About Versa Capital Management
Based in Philadelphia, Versa Capital Management, LLC is a private equity investment firm with more than $1.4 billion of assets under management focused on control investments in special situations involving middle market companies where value and performance growth can be achieved through enhanced operational and financial management. Versa has a diverse portfolio of North American businesses including Allen-Vanguard, Avenue Stores, Bell+Howell, BridgeStreet Global, Polartec, SynCardia Systems, and Silver Airways. More information can be found at www.Versa.com.