'Right-Sizing' On-Deck For Vera Bradley

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Rob Wallstrom came to Vera Bradley in 2013. Rob Wallstrom came to Vera Bradley in 2013.
FORT WAYNE -

Fort Wayne-based Vera Bradley Inc. (Nasdaq: VRA) Chief Executive Officer Rob Wallstrom is launching a "much more aggressive approach" to the company's continued turnaround efforts. In a call with investors Wednesday morning, Wallstrom said the Vision 20/20 strategic plan, which will be largely implemented in fiscal 2019, will include dialing back the availability of clearance items. The goal, executives say, is "resetting our customers' pricing perception and restoring our full-price business."

Wallstrom says the changes, which will take place over the next three years and involve "right-sizing" the organization to save up to $30 million annually. Vera Bradley is also bringing on an outside consultant to help study the business, strategic plan and the company's historic performance. He says the moves "will not be easy" and additional details of Vision 20/20 will be revealed in the coming months. "By executing Vision 20/20," Wallstrom added, "we believe we are on the right course for the future, restoring our brand health, improving operating performance, and enhancing shareholder value."

Vera Bradley also announced multiple upper-management changes. Founder Barbara Bradley Baekgaard will remain with the board, but no longer serve as chief creative officer. Wallstrom says Bradley Baekgaard "remains the heart and soul of the brand" and the change will allow her to focus more on the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer and a new book. Beatrice Mac Cabe, who has been with the company since January 2016 as vice president of design, will succeed Bradley Baekgaard as chief creative officer. The company says Executive Vice President of Design Kim Colby will step down September 29th.

The unveiling of Vision 20/20 coincides with the release of the company's second quarter earnings report, which showed a net income of $2.2 million, compared to a net income of $5.1 million in the same quarter last year.

Vera Bradley Chief Executive Officer Rob Wallstrom says the changes, which will take place over the next three years and involve "right-sizing" the organization.
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