Francesca’s Holdings Corp., a Houston-based retailer of apparel and accessories, fired Chief Financial Officer Gene Morphis for “improperly” communicating company information through social media.

The company began an investigation after discovering his activity on May 11, Francesca’s said today in a statement. A search for a new CFO is underway. Cynthia Thomassee, controller since 2007 and vice president of accounting since 2010, will serve as interim CFO, Francesca’s said.

Francesca’s, which had its initial public offering last year, operates about 300 locations and sells clothing and accessories in a boutique-like setting. In March, the company announced plans to add 76 stores this year.

The company today reported preliminary results for the fiscal first-quarter that exceeded its forecast, citing better-than-expected same-store sales. Earnings per share totaled as much as 18 cents in the quarter ended April 28, up from the maximum of 15 cents previously predicted. Analysts projected 15 cents, the average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Francesca’s rose 1 percent to $24.27 at 10:03 a.m. in New York. The shares had gained 39 percent this year before today.

The company is scheduled to report full results on June 7.



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