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hhgregg Cuts Top Marketing Post

Indianapolis – hhgregg chief marketing officer Julie Lyle has left the company after 15 months, and her position has been eliminated.

Lyle, who held similar posts at Pamida and Walmart, ran the retailer’s marketing and e-commerce departments.

During her brief tenure at the multiregional appliance, CE and furniture chain, she helped launch a comprehensive go-to-market strategy that encompassed store remodels, branded shops, and a fresh marketing campaign that emphasized post-sale satisfaction.

Despite the effort, sales and earnings have struggled, with the company posting an $87 million loss in its fiscal fourth quarter.

As part of a renewed turnaround plan, hhgregg recently enlisted American TV alumnus Keith Zimmerman as chief merchandising officer and brought in a retail consultancy to help rationalize its marketing spend, president/CEO Dennis May said.

Indeed, Janney retail analyst David Strasser observed in a research note that despite a 48 percent increase in advertising expenditures over the past five years – including an ad budget of $130 million in fiscal 2015 – sales have only grown 4.5 percent. He added that recently named chief financial officer Robert Riesbeck is likely “taking a much closer look” at the return on this investment, particularly newspaper inserts.

In a March 23 federal filing, the company indicated that Lyle’s position had been eliminated effective immediately and that her responsibilities, which had included marketing, advertising, brand strategy, consumer insights and e-commerce development, “have been absorbed by other officers.”