Francis H. Arnone, former chairman and chief executive of the Broadway department stores in Southern California, on Wednesday was appointed president and chief executive of Marshalls, the nation’s largest retailer of discount apparel.
At the Broadway, Arnone, 47, had a reputation for aggressive merchandising, and analysts said they expect that flair to come in handy at Marshalls, which is in the midst of a turnaround begun to stem a decline in profits over the last year or so.
“Obviously, Marshalls needs a lot of work,” said Monroe Greenstein, an analyst with Bear, Stearns & Co. in New York. “They have to go back to what they were--competing with department stores--instead of competing with other discount stores.”
He added that the 261-store chain, a unit of Melville Corp. that had 1986 sales of $1.4 billion, got into trouble when it started downgrading its merchandise and going head-to-head with discounters. Its previous president, Gerald Kanter, resigned several months ago.
For the last two years, Arnone has been executive vice president of Platt Music Corp. in Los Angeles, which operates leased consumer electronics departments. Reached there Wednesday morning, he declined to comment.
Before going to Platt, Arnone spent 10 years with Carter Hawley Hale Stores, the Los Angeles-based parent of the Broadway. He resigned in late 1984 after less than a year as president and chief executive of the company’s market services division in New York. Before that, he served as the Broadway’s president before being named chief executive and then chairman.
In his new post, Arnone will report to Michael Friedheim, executive vice president of Melville Corp., Marshalls’ parent. With 39 locations, California has the heaviest concentration of the chain’s stores.
Marshalls is the largest unit of Melville, a highly diversified retail company with headquarters in Harrison, N.Y. The company’s 13 divisions, including Thom McAn, Linens ‘n Things and Wilsons, a leather apparel chain, operate autonomously. They had 1986 revenues of nearly $5 billion and net income of $220 million.