Off-price fashion chain Stein Mart Inc is searching for a new chief executive officer to replace Linda M Farthing who has been in the post for just over a year.

Ms Farthing, who took on the role of president and CEO in September 2007, will remain on the board of directors once her successor has been found.

"Linda took on the CEO role at a very difficult time and has worked tirelessly to move our cCompany forward," noted Jay Stein, chairman of the board of Stein Mart.

Jacksonville, Florida based Stein Mart has engaged Korn/Ferry International to assist in identifying candidates for the position.

In August, the retailer said it swung to a second quarter net loss of US$8m on higher expenses from store closures and lower sales. Net sales were down 5.8% to $311.6m and same-store sales fell 9.7%.