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May 6, 2022

Aritzia CEO Brian Hill stepping down after leading retailer for 38 years

We are well over 100% pre-pandemic sales levels: Aritzia CEO

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Aritzia Inc. says founder and chief executive Brian Hill is stepping down from the role after leading the clothing retailer for 38 years.

The Vancouver-based company, which went public in 2016, says president and chief operating officer Jennifer Wong will step into the CEO role, while Hill will stay on as executive chair of the board.

Hill and his family founded Aritzia in 1984, while Wong started at the company in 1987 as a part-time sales associate.

The change in leadership comes as the company continues its expansion plans into the U.S., which helped boost its net revenue growth in its last quarter by 66.1 per cent from a year earlier.

Aritzia says net revenue in its fourth quarter came in at $444.3 million, up from $267.5 million for the same quarter last year.

Net income was reported as $34.2 million, up 113 per cent from the $16.1 million a year earlier.

Irene Nattel of RBC Dominion Securities said in a note to clients that the results were strong and better than expected with an "outstanding performance in the U.S. where the brand continues to build momentum."

"Performance of ATZ prior to, during and through yet another wave of COVID reinforces our views around the strength, sustainability and upside potential of the company’s unique business model," she said.

Nattel added that despite Hill's departure as CEO, "importantly" he has no "immediate" plans to change current ownership levels, while Wong is well-known to investors.