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Stein Mart Taps Former Belk Exec Stovall

Following a brief search, off-price mid-tier department store chain Stein Mart Inc. has named a new president and ceo: David H. Stovall Jr.

For the past 15 months, Linda McFarland Farthing has held the post at the 279-unit softlines retailer. In October, Farthing — a longtime Stein Mart board member — announced her plans to leave the position and help the company search for her replacement.

The board of directors selected Stovall, 61, who has been an executive for more than 20 years at regional department store operator Belk Inc. He joined Belk in 1986 as svp of merchandising and sales promotion, and most recently served as Belk's chairman of the Central Division based in Charlotte, N.C.

His career experience also includes serving as chair of the Profitt's/McRae's integration in 2005 and 2006, and the Parisian integration from 2006 to 2008.

Prior to joining Belk, Stovall held positions with now-defunct Woodward & Lothrop, Bloomingdale's and former Stewart's in the Washington/Baltimore area.

"David has a solid history of executive management over both store operations and merchandise, and most recently oversaw the integration of Belk's two largest acquisitions," said Jay Stein, Stein Mart's chairman of the board. "With his leadership, we will build on the initiatives begun during the past year to help transform Stein Mart into the revitalized company that our customers and our stockholders are eager to see us become. I am personally very excited about this hire."

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