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Gottschalks changes management as sales slip

Gottschalks announced changes in upper management today, the same day it reported slipping July sales.

Board Chairman Joe Levy, who the company announced months ago would be stepping down, will relinquish his role effective today.

Chief Executive and President Jim Famalette will replace Levy as chairman. Levy will remain on the board as a director and hold the title of chairman emeritus. Levy is one of the last remaining members of the Gottschalks family on the board, along with his wife, Sharon Levy.

Gottschalks, which has Modesto locations in Vintage Faire Mall and on Oakdale Road, also announced a 3.9% decrease in same-store sales for July. Same-store sales are sales at outlets open at least a year and are considered the best indicator of a retailer's health.

Sales decreased 5.5 percent on the month, from $43.4 million in July 2006 to $41.1 million in July 2007.

The company operated three fewer stores in the month and the year-to-date period compared to the same time last year. Gottschalks has 59 department stores and four specialty apparel stores in six western states.

Other management changes announced today:

Greg Ambro, former chief administrative and chief financial officer, will take on the role of executive vice president and chief operating officer. Ambro will now be overseeing the company's Madera distribution center and loss prevention, among other duties, Famalette said this morning.

Ambro was replaced with Daniel Warzenski, who will now serve as vice president of finance and chief financial officer. Warzenski was formerly vice president of finance.

Joseph Penbera will remain as lead director.

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