Former AutoNation CFO Michael Short will become the new CFO at Toy’s “R” Us on June 23 to replace Clay Creasey who left the retailer after eight years.
Short, 53, spent the past seven years as CFO at AutoNation, the nation’s largest automotive retailer, but resigned from the Fort Lauderdale-based company in early January. Prior to AutoNation, Short served as CFO at Universal Orlando and also held finance roles at distiller Joseph E. Seagram & Sons and IBM Corporation. A helicopter pilot and tactics instructors for the United States Navy, Short graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and earned an MBA from Columbia University.
“We are delighted to have Mike join the organization during this transformational time for our company and look forward to the benefit of his strong financial and strategic experience, as well as his unique insights and fresh perspective on the business,” said Toys “R” Us chairman and CEO Antonio Urcelay.
Short’s appointment follows the release of surprisingly strong first quarter sales results at Toys “R” Us. The company reported a 4% same store sales increase for the quarter ended May 3 and said total sales increased 2.9% to $2.5 billion. Despite the sales improvement at the company’s 879 U.S. and 705 international stores, the company reported a $196 million net loss compared to a prior year loss of $111 million. However, the primary reasons for the loss were a $71 million decrease of an income tax benefit and a $31 million increase in expenses. First quarter profits were also negatively affected by clearance activity.
As Urcelay noted at the time, the company is focused on improving operating margins and clarifying its pricing strategy while simplifying and optimizing promotional offers.