Così Inc. said this week that Stephen Edwards is stepping down as executive chairman and won’t stand for re-election to the board when his term expires this year.
 
The 119-unit Così, in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Monday, said Edwards had notified the board on May 27 that he would also be resigning all offices and positions with the board and company at the company annual meeting, which is scheduled for June 24.
 
“Edwards' decision not to stand for re-election was not the result of a disagreement on any matter relating to the company's operations, policies or practices,” Deerfield, Ill.-based Così said in its filing.


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Edwards had assumed the executive chairman post for the second time on March 17 when R.J. Dourney, a Così franchisee with Hopkinton, Mass.-based Hearthstone Associates, succeed him as president and chief executive.
 
Edwards had served in the executive chairman role since January 2012 before taking over as president and chief executive when his predecessor, Carin Stuz, resigned in June 2013.
 
Così’s sales have been struggling. Revenues in the March 31-ended first quarter fell 14.8 percent, to $18.4 million, from $21.6 million in the prior-year period. The company’s loss grew to $3.1 million, or 17 cents per share, in the first quarter from a loss of $2.7 million, or 15 cents per share, in the prior-year period.
 
Systemwide same-store sales in the first quarter fell 9.5 percent from the same period last year, with company-owned units decreasing 12.4 percent and franchised locations falling 5 percent.
 
“Although the first quarter results are disappointing, I remain confident in Così`s long-term potential,” said Dourney in a statement accompanying the company’s first-quarter earnings report on May 15.

Così operates 70 company-owned restaurants and franchises another 49 locations in 16 states, the District of Columbia, Costa Rica and the United Arab Emirates.
 
Contact Ron Ruggless at ronald.ruggless@penton.com.
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