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Regis Corporation (RGS - Analyst Report) has recently appointed Steven M. Spiegel as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Executive Vice President of the company with immediate effect. Spiegel replaced Brent Moen who had resigned from the post of CFO. However, Brent Moen will remain with Regis till January 4, 2013, to ensure a seamless transition.

Spiegel’s career graph boasts several strategic roles. Previously, he had served as the Vice President Finance and Corporate Controller at Unilever Group (formerly Alberto Culver) from 2010 to May 2012. Prior to that, he acted as the Vice President of Commercial Finance – Americas, Asia-Pacific and Africa, at Alberto Culver from 2007.

Earlier, he held the same posts at U.S. Branded Beauty of Alberto Culver from 2005 to 2007. Considering his vast know-how about business development, public accounting as well as his prior experience with leading retailers, we believe that he will bring on board key expertise to steer Regis’ to growth and profitability.

Edina-based Regis’ present scenario is not very encouraging as the company has been struggling for quite some time with a slow traffic count, which remains a drag on its same-store sales.

However, traffic under its Smart Style segment was positive for the first time in several quarters in the third quarter of 2012, supported by a back-to-school coupon event. We believe that despite this positive signal, Regis still has a long way to go to wipe out the previous underperformance.   

Frequent changes in top management further remain a cause of concern for Regis. In July this year, Regis appointed a permanent Chief Executive Officer (CEO) after a seven-month long extensive search. Meanwhile, Eric A. Bakken acted as the interim CEO of the company.

In January this year, the company had to undergo another managerial change owing to the termination of the Chief Operating Officer (COO) David Bortnem. In such a scenario, the role of a new team will be vital as the company is currently struggling to revitalize the brand. An element of uncertainty will linger till we find any definite signs of progress.

Regis, which competes with Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc. (ULTA - Snapshot Report), retains a Zacks #4 Rank, implying a short-term ‘Sell’ rating on the stock.

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