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Aeropostale Rehires Julian Geiger as CEO

Teen specialty retailer Aeropostale Inc. announced Monday that Julian Geiger has rejoined the company as chief executive officer, effectively immediately. He will also continue to serve as a board member.

Geiger was CEO of the retailer from 1996 to 2009 and drove up sales at Aeropostale to $1.9 billion in 2008, from $140 million in 1998, Reuters reported.

The move is a tell-all sign that the struggling retailer is banking on Geiger to apply his magic touch to its sluggish sales. Aeropostale, along with other teen-centric retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch and American Eagle Outfitters, have been struggling to compete with fast fashion makers H&M and Forever 21. On Monday, the company reported that sales at stores open for at least one year dipped 13 percent, making it the eighth straight quarterly comparable sales decline. Second quarter revenue dropped 13 percent to $396.2 million.

Karin Hirtler-Garvey, chairperson of Aeropostale’s board of directors, said, “Julian’s previous service in the role of CEO combined with his passion for the Aeropostale brand make him an ideal choice to lead this organization.” She added, “Julian was the leader of Aeropostale’s strategic direction during a period of significant growth, and we are confident in his enthusiasm for the business, his understanding of today’s teen retail marketplace and his intuition regarding teen fashion. We are pleased to have Julian back to help guide Aeropostale, Inc. and further enhance each of the Company’s sales channels.”

Geiger replaces Thomas Johnson, who mutually agreed with Aeropostale’s Board of Directors to step from his role as CEO and director of the company. Johnson will remain available for the company to help with a smooth transition.

Geiger said the decision to return to Aeropostale was easy to make. “The opportunity for sales and profit growth; the ability to reinforce the Company’s special culture; and the chance to work closely with, and influence, the management team and the field organization combine to create a compelling and dynamic challenge. It is with enormous excitement that I prepare to lead the Aeropostale team into a future filled with optimism and opportunity.”