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Specialty apparel retailer Express lowers sales guidance

January 13, 2014 (United States Of America)

Express, Inc,  a specialty retail apparel chain operating more than 625 stores, revised its outlook for the fourth quarter and full year 2013, ending February 1, 2014, based on its performance during the holiday season and expectations for the balance of the period.
 
Fourth Quarter:
The Company is revising its fourth quarter 2013 guidance for the 13 weeks ending February 1, 2014.  Comparable sales are expected to range from flat to an increase in the low single digit range.  Net income is currently expected in the range of $48 to $52 million, or $0.57 to $0.61 per diluted share on 84.8 million weighted average shares outstanding.  This compares to the Company's previous guidance of $56 to $60 million, or $0.66 to $0.71 per diluted share. 
 
Full Year:
Based on its revised fourth quarter outlook, the Company has also adjusted its guidance for the 52 week year ending February 1, 2014. Full year comparable sales are still expected to increase in the low single digit range.  Net income is currently estimated at $117 to $121 million, or $1.37 to $1.41 per diluted share on 85.1 million weighted average shares outstanding. This compares to the Company's previous expectation of $124 to $128 million, or $1.46 to $1.51 per diluted share.  Consistent with previous years, this guidance excludes any non-core operating items that may occur.
 
Michael Weiss, Express, Inc.'s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer commented: "Our fourth quarter guidance issued in early December 2013 contemplated a promotional holiday season as well as a slowdown in traffic after the Thanksgiving week.  What we experienced was a drop in traffic that was even deeper than anticipated, as consumers waited until much closer to Christmas to shop.  
 
“To ensure that we captured customer dollars when customers ultimately arrived, and with a view to preventing inventories from building, we extended the duration of our promotions and deepened the discount being offered.  January traffic to date has been weak and we have remained promotional and expect to maintain this stance throughout the month.  While we believe the actions we took, and are taking, are appropriate, it does require us to adjust our fourth quarter and full year guidance accordingly."
 
Mr. Weiss then noted that, "We expect our inventory at the beginning of 2014 to reflect low to mid single digit growth and to be more heavily weighted to Spring product than at this time last year.  Furthermore, we have significant open to buy dollars available for investment during the Spring season." 
 

Express Inc
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