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Stein Mart seeks top exec, Farthing helps transition    

Jacksonville, Fla. – Off-price chain Stein Mart Inc. has embarked on a nationwide search to replace its current president and ceo, Linda McFarland Farthing.

Farthing, who has been a member of the company’s board of directors since 1999, took on the additional leading roles in September 2007 upon the departure of Michael Fisher. While she intends to remain on the board of directors, Farthing said she now wishes to implement her plan of finding a successor as president and ceo.

“Linda took on the ceo role at a very difficult time and has worked tirelessly to move our company forward,” said Jay Stein, chairman. “We deeply appreciate all her efforts, and know that her insights will continue to inform the board as we work to improve our business.”

Farthing is actively engaged in finding her replacement, and said she will remain in her posts until then. To aid the effort, Stein Mart has engaged Korn/Ferry International to assist in identifying candidates for the position.

Stein Mart, which operates 280 units, is No. 44 in the HTT Top 50 Retailing Giants with 2007 home textiles sales of $83 million.

But Stein Mart’s volume in soft home has significantly declined; the segment has been singled out by the retailer as one of its poorest-performing areas. For that reason, the chain is actively reducing its dedicated home textiles square footage going forward.

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