BRISBANE (AP) -- Clothing retailer Bebe Stores said Thursday that its CEO Steve Birkhold resigned, effective immediately.

Birkhold had served as CEO since 2013. Jim Wiggett, CEO of consulting firm Jackson Hole Group who has been advising the company for five years, will be CEO on an interim basis as the company seeks a permanent successor.

Bebe has been dealing with tough competition and declining mall traffic. In its most recent quarter, it reported a net loss but revenue beat analysts' expectations. Sales in stores open at least one year fell 1.9 percent during the company's fiscal second quarter, which included the key holiday selling season.

Bebe operates 227 stores under the bebe, 2b bebe and 33 bebe outlet stores in the United States, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Canada. The company also distributes and sells bebe branded products through its licensees in about 26 countries.

Its shares rose a penny to $3.37 in midday trading Thursday. Its shares are down about 37 percent so far this year.



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