San Diego-based PriceSmart, Inc. (Nasdaq: PSMT), which owns and operates membership shopping warehouse clubs in Latin America and the Caribbean, announced Oct. 26 the resignation of its CEO, president and director Jose Luis Laparte. The company also announced its fourth quarter revenues and its fiscal year ending Aug. 31.
According to a press release, Laparte’s last day with PriceSmart will be Nov. 16, although he has agreed to make himself available through the end of the year. The business has begun searching for a new CEO, but, in the meantime, Sherry S. Bahrambeygui, a director of the company, has been appointed interim CEO. Robert Price has moved from the position of chairman of the board to executive chairman of the board, and Leon Janks, also a director of the company, has been named lead director.
"I speak for the entire Board of Directors when I say that we are enormously grateful for the contributions Jose Luis has made to this company," Price said in a statement about Laparte, who served as CEO from July 2010 and president since October 2004. "He has built a great company and leaves us well positioned for the future.”
Laparte added: "PriceSmart has a great future ahead of it and I believe it is well-positioned for future growth. I am especially proud of our almost 9,000 team members worldwide and the incredible job they do every day serving our 3 million PriceSmart members.”
In other news, PriceSmart’s total revenues for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2018 increased 6.0 percent to $777.9 million compared to $733.5 million in the same period the prior year. Net merchandise sales increased 4.3 percent to $741.3 million from $711.0 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017.
The company’s operating income during the quarter was $27.2 million, as compared to $30.8 million in the year prior.
Net income attributable to PriceSmart was $19.0 million, or $0.62 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2018 as compared to $19.8 million, or $0.64 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017. The fourth quarter 2018 earnings per share were negatively impacted by $0.15 from the results of operations and costs associated with the acquisition earlier this year of Aeropost – an international package delivery service and online retailer – and positively impacted by $0.06 due to U.S. Tax reform, the company said.
Total revenues for fiscal 2018 increased 5.7 percent to $3.2 billion from $3.0 billion in 2017. PriceSmart had 41 warehouse clubs in operation as of August compared to 39 in August 2017.
The company now operates warehouse clubs in 12 countries and one U.S. territory: seven each in Colombia and Costa Rica; five in Panama; four each in Trinidad and Dominican Republic; three each in Guatemala and Honduras; two each in El Salvador and Nicaragua; and one each in Aruba, Barbados, Jamaica and the United States Virgin Islands. The company is currently developing warehouse clubs in Santiago, Panama and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic that are expected to open in the spring of 2019. The Company has also acquired property in San Cristobal, Guatemala, where its 44th warehouse club will open in the fall of 2019.