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Christopher and Banks experiences wider Q2 loss
Sep '11
Christopher & Banks Corporation announced preliminary results for the fiscal second quarter ended August 27, 2011 as follows.

For the fiscal 2012 second quarter:
• Net sales are expected to be $96.2 million, as compared to $101.3 million in the same period last year. Comparable store sales declined 8%.
• Gross margin is expected to be in the range of 28.3% to 28.9%, as compared to 35.3% in the same period last year.
• Operating loss is expected to be in the range of $12.9 million to $13.5 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2012.
• Net loss per share is expected to be in the range of $0.37 to $0.39, which incorporates an expected tax provision of approximately $0.1 million. Adjusted for a normalized tax rate of approximately 40%, net loss per share would be in the range of $0.22 to $0.24.

Larry Barenbaum, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, “Our second quarter performance did not meet expectations and as a team we are disappointed with the results. We are confident that our merchandise assortment is moving in the right direction, as customers were willing to pay higher prices on select items; however, the price increases we instituted were too aggressive for much of the assortment and as a result impacted the sell through rate.

Price appears to be less of a factor when the item is distinctive, such as unique prints and novelty details and finishes, and also offers versatile wardrobe options. However, not enough of the assortment reflected these characteristics. During the quarter, we increased our promotional activity in an effort to drive transactions and clear slower moving product, resulting in increased merchandise margin pressure. In addition, we held to our accelerated clearance markdown cadence in order to mark inventory out-of-stock on a more timely basis. We remain committed to our strategy of evolving our product offerings. We have acted quickly to determine what adjustments we can make to our merchandise assortment and pricing strategy going forward to better meet her needs and achieve our goals.”

Balance Sheet
The Company expects to end the second quarter with cash, cash equivalents and investments of approximately $95.8 million and no long-term debt. Total inventory at August 27, 2011 is expected to be $53.7 million, as compared to $40.1 million at August 28, 2010. Approximately $4.2 million of the increase relates to increased inventory in-transit at the end of the second quarter resulting from the timing of merchandise receipts and a shift in payment terms for a few key suppliers from FOB destination to FOB shipping point. In-store inventory is expected to increase approximately 13% on a dollar basis per store at the end of the second quarter, as compared to the same period last year.

Christopher & Banks Corporation is a Minneapolis-based specialty retailer of women's clothing. As of September 22, 2011, the Company operates 773 stores in 46 states consisting of 503 Christopher & Banks stores, 238 stores in their plus size clothing division CJ Banks, 10 dual-concept stores and 22 outlet stores.

Christopher & Banks Corporation

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