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Lovisa shares tank as CEO exits

Lovisa-oLovisa has lost its second senior executive in just over six months, announcing on Tuesday evening that chief executive Steve Doyle has resigned to pursue other interests, effective 20 April.

Shares in Lovisa fell 8 per cent in early Wednesday trading to $9.20 as the news set in.

Doyle’s departure comes after the resignation of former chief financial officer Graeme Fallet last September after just one and a half years with the business.

The accessories retailer broke the news to the market alongside a trading update, which shows that the business has booked year to date comparable store sales of 7.6 per cent to the end of the third quarter and a 20.3 per cent increase in top line revenue.

Lovisa booked a 7.4 per cent increase in comparable store sales for the first half of FY18 and top line sales growth of 18.8 per cent compared to the prior corresponding period.

At the time Doyle said Lovisa had experienced a “pleasing start to the year”.

“It’s pleasing that the business has been able to maintain the solid start to the year as we continue our global rollout, helping to deliver both sales growth and gross margin expansion,” Doyle said in January.

No information was provided on whether a search for a new CEO had been completed or begun, but founder and managing director Shane Fallscheer will continue to lead the company.

“On behalf of the board, I thank Steve for his tireless work and commitment during the past two and a half years in driving the continued success of the business, including playing a key role in its international expansion to date,” Fallscheer said in a statement.

“Steve has been a great asset to the company and leaves the business in excellent shape.”

Doyle had been at the helm of Lovisa since October 2016 after joining to oversee the company’s increasingly international ambitions.

Lovisa also said on Tuesday that it had opened 5 new stores during the half and closed 4 – with 320 stores now trading.

UPDATED – 11:40 AEST 4/04/2018

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