CMRG to Trim Rochester HQ

by MR Magazine Staff

NEW YORK – Casual Male Retail Group is shedding the majority of the personnel in the San Francisco headquarters of its Rochester Big & Tall division, including divisional chief executive Robert Sockolov, has learned.

Steve Sockolov and two assistant buyers are expected to stay on and supervise buying of clothing and furnishings for the 24-store Rochester chain.

However, the remainder of the management group – Robert Sockolov, Bill Sockolov and John Soares – and three other long-term employees are expected to be gone by the end of the year. Back-office operations previously had been consolidated into Casual Male’s offices in Canton, Mass., and the merchandising of categories not assigned to Steve Sockolov now are expected to be handled from Canton as well.

Telephone calls seeking comment from Casual Male weren’t returned Monday.

San Francisco-based Rochester was acquired by Canton, Mass.-based Casual Male two years ago for $20 million, including $5 million in assumed debt. The transaction also allowed for an earn-out provision of up to $4 million over a three-year period.

Robert Sockolov became a member of CMRG’s board of directors upon consummation of the deal in November 2004. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, CMRG said that Sockolov would be entitled to receive his full annual salary of $250,000 until the end of January 2008 in the event that he was terminated for reason other than “cause” or death.

As neither Bill Sockolov nor John Soares are directors or officers of CMRG, details of their employment agreements haven’t been made public by CMRG.

In addition to its acquisition of Rochester, CMRG in recent years has exited its previous businesses with Ecko Unltd. and Levi’s/Dockers outlet stores and earlier this year changed its store nameplate to Casual Male XL from Casual Male Big & Tall.