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Article updated: 6/19/2013 1:04 PM

Men's Wearhouse ousts founder and exec. chairman

By

NEW YORK -- Men's Wearhouse Inc. has dismissed its founder and executive chairman George Zimmer.

In a terse release issued Wednesday, the company didn't give a reason for the abrupt firing of Zimmer, who built Men's Wearhouse from one small Texas store using a cigar box as a cash register to one of the nation's largest specialty retailers in men's clothing, with 1,143 locations.

In light of Zimmer's termination, the company postponed its annual shareholders' meeting scheduled for Wednesday. It said the purpose of the postponement is to re-nominate the existing slate of directors without him. It said the board expects to discuss with Zimmer the extent, if any, and terms of "his ongoing relationship" with the company

Zimmer was seen as the face of the company, appearing in many of its TV commercials with the slogan, "You're going to like the way you look. I guarantee it."

The company, based in Fremont, Calif., runs its namesake chain of men's clothing stores, as well as the Moores and K&G retail chains. It also sells uniform and work wear in the U.S. and U.K.

As of 9:30 a.m., the company's website still prominently spotlighted Zimmer.

The abrupt departure comes a week after Men's Wearhouse reported that its fiscal first-quarter profit increased 23 percent, helped by stronger margins and an earlier prom season.

Shares fell more than 2 percent, or 80 cents, to $36.67 in morning trading. The stock has traded between $25.97 and $38.59 in the past 52 weeks, and ended Tuesday up about 20 percent since the start of the year.

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