Regional department store operator Stage Stores Inc is looking for a new chief merchandising officer after Rich Maloney resigned to pursue other interests.

Maloney joined the company in October 2008 and served as chief merchandising officer since February 2010. The company today (2 February) said it has begun a search for his replacement.

The departure was announced as the company lowered its full-year earnings guidance to the range of $0.92 to $0.93 per share, versus previous guidance of $1.02 to $1.08 per share. It said gross margin was "negatively impacted by the promotional business environment."

Fourth quarter sales rose 3.2% to $468m and comparable store sales increased 1.3%. For the fiscal year to 28 January, total sales were up 2.1% to $1.5bn and same-store sales increased 0.5% for the year.