Fort Myers, Fla. -- Clothing company Chico's FAS (CHS) said Thursday it is eliminating 180 positions and may close up to 25 stores to cope with the economy's toll on retailers.Chico's, which operates its namesake retail stores, White HouseBlack Market and Soma Intimates brands, has suffered from weak sales as consumers cut their spending back amid the recession. The job cuts represent roughly 11% of its workforce at its Fort Meyers, Fla. headquarters. The move is expected to save the company $15 million over the next year. "Chico's FAS has tremendous potential and a bright future, but like the rest of our industry, faces the challenges of one of the toughest economic environments in recent retailing history," President and Chief Executive David Dyer said in a statement. "Accordingly, it is more critical than ever for us to operate as efficiently as possible." Chico's said it will record an after-tax charge of about $2.9 million in the fourth-quarter related to the job cuts. The company also said it may close as many as 25 stores, after it found that it will recognize $7 million to $9 million in charges for underperforming stores in the fourth-quarter. Chico's also said it would recognize impairment charges of $11 million to $14 million in the fourth quarter related to goodwill. The company has seen many changes lately, its same-store sales, fell 12.4% in December. In an effort to improve results, the company named Tommy Hilfiger Inc. and Land's End executive David F. Dyer as its new president and chief executive. Shares of Chico's fell 32 cents, or 7.4%, to close at $4.01.
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