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Discounter Taps Former Wal-Mart Exec as CEO

November 09, 2002|Abigail Goldman | Times Staff Writer

Shares of discount merchant Factory 2-U Stores Inc. more than doubled Friday after the appointment of onetime Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Chief Executive William R. Fields as the company's chairman and CEO.

Factory 2-U, which made the announcement after markets closed Thursday, saw its stock jump $2.77 to close at $4.45 on Nasdaq on Friday. The stock hit a 52-week low just a few weeks ago, closing at $1.11 on Oct. 11.

The San Diego-based chain of 261 discount stores, formerly known as Family Bargain, operates mostly in strip malls, selling clothing and household merchandise it buys from close-out sales and inventory excesses it acquires from manufacturers and other retailers.

Fields, 53, was CEO of Wal-Mart from 1993 to 1996. Most recently, he was CEO of Apec China Asset Management Ltd. He also has headed Canadian department store Hudson's Bay Co. and Blockbuster Entertainment Group.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday November 13, 2002 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 6 inches; 243 words Type of Material: Correction
Factory 2-U executive -- In a Business section story on Saturday about the selection of William R. Fields as chief executive of San Diego-based Factory 2-U Stores Inc., the company identified Fields as a former chief executive of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. In fact, Fields headed Wal-Mart's stores division, not the entire company.

Fields is replacing Mike Searles, Factory 2-U's CEO since 1998. A company spokesman said only that Searles, who previously held executive posts at Montgomery Ward Inc. and Toys R Us Inc.'s Kids R Us division, has left the company.

Factory 2-U's sales, which totaled $580 million last year, have shrunk in recent quarters and the company has been losing money. The stock has plunged from a peak of $43 in 2000.

Factory 2-U was founded by Norman Weinstein, who started General Textiles by selling clothes at swap meets. Weinstein opened his first Family Bargain store in 1979.

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