Forzani Group president exits in reorganization of one Canada's largest franchises

Date: JAN 11th, 2008

Topic: Franchise News

OTTAWA, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Forzani Group said it will take a C$4.2 million ($4.1 million) charge as its president exits the company in a senior management shift at the country's biggest sporting goods retailer.

Forzani said President and Chief Operating Officer Bill Gregson has left "to pursue other opportunities" after a 10 year-career at the company.

Franchise operations president Tom Quinn has been named president of both the franchise and corporate businesses.

The Calgary, Alberta-based company made the announcement late on Thursday, a day after it issued strong holiday sales figures that sent its stock higher.

Forzani, which sells under such banners as Sport Chek and Sports Experts, said it expects to take a one-time charge to earnings of about C$4.2 million for the reorganization. It did not say when it would take the charge.

"With strong teams in place on both the corporate and franchise side of the business, Forzani is very well positioned to enact changes which will continue to drive the success of the organization," the company said in a statement.

"The focus continues to be on growing both revenues and margins, while working to streamline structures, pursuing best-practices, and becoming a more cost-efficient organization."

The retailer said on Wednesday that sales in the 10-week holiday season rose 21 percent from the year before. Analysts called the results exceptionally strong. ($1=$1.02 Canadian) (Reporting by Susan Taylor; Editing by Peter Galloway)