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Consolidated comparable store sales up at Charming Shoppes
Sep '11
Charming Shoppes Inc., a leading multi-brand apparel retailer specializing in women's plus-size apparel, reported sales and operating results for the three and six month periods ended July 30, 2011.

Commenting on the quarter, Anthony M. Romano, President and Chief Executive Officer of Charming Shoppes, Inc. said, "We are pleased with the progress of our initiatives which resulted in an 80% increase in Adjusted EBITDA to $18.5 million during the second quarter. Each of our brands has improved year over year by providing more fashionable, trend-right assortments, coupled with disciplined inventory management, gross margin expansion and leveraging of operating expenses.

"Our Spring and Summer inventory assortments resonated more strongly with our customer, driving faster full price sell-throughs at higher gross margins across all brands. We improved conversion rates, average unit retails and average dollar sales compared to the prior year. We oversold our plan in May and June; however, July sales were negatively impacted by reduced levels of Summer clearance inventory.

"Our disciplined inventory management resulted in 5% lower inventory at cost on a comparable store basis at the end of the quarter as compared to a year ago, and has led to better inventory productivity. Our business plans included significantly reduced levels of Summer clearance merchandise, which contributed to our gross margin improvement of 120 basis points. As a result, traffic and transactions decreased, although somewhat more than we had planned. Further, we experienced lower operating expenses in marketing, store operating and occupancy expenses, which drove leverage of 90 basis points."

The Company continued to strengthen its balance sheet and generated $47.0 million in cash during the quarter, ending the period with total cash of $227.4 million. The Company also renewed a $200 million senior secured revolving credit facility with a five-year maturity on more favorable terms.

Romano continued, "We have positioned ourselves to compete aggressively in this challenging macro-economic environment by continuing our disciplined inventory management, and with more focused marketing, including appropriate promotional pricing adjustments as our consumer dictates and as circumstances warrant."

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Charming Shoppes Inc

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