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Rationalisation hits Q3FY15 sales at Christopher & Banks
Dec '14
Net sales at women’s apparel retailer, Christopher & Banks slipped 6.35 per cent year on year for the thirteen week period ended November 1, 2014, a reflection of its store rationalisation program.

Net sales for the third quarter of 2014 totalled $110.6 million, as compared to $118.1 million for the thirteen weeks ended November 2, 2013.

During the quarter, the retailer operated an average of 7.8 per cent fewer stores than during the comparable period last year, reflecting its store rationalization program.

In the quarter under review, same-store sales fell 7.6 per cent from the year ago quarter as against a 4.9 per cent same-store sales increase in last year's third quarter.

However the women’s apparel retailer’s gross margin in the third quarter of 2014 expanded 140 basis points from the prior year third quarter to 39.5 per cent.

Third quarter of 2014 operating income was $9.3 million or 8.4 per cent of net sales as against operating income of $8.6 million or 7.3 per cent of net sales in the third quarter of 2013.

Net income for the reporting quarter amounted $9.0 million, or $0.24 per diluted share, up from $8.6 million, or $0.23 per diluted share for the thirteen weeks ended November 2, 2013.

SG&A expenses too fell to $31.5 million, as compared to $33.2 million during last year's third quarter.

Cash, cash-equivalents and investments totalled $43.7 million as of November 1, 2014.

While, inventory per square foot, excluding in-transit and ecommerce inventory rose around 26.2 per cent or $4.97 per square foot, as of November 1, 2014, as compared to November 2, 2013.

For the thirteen week period ended November 1, 2014, the retailer did not have any outstanding borrowings under its revolving credit facility and capex touched $5.0 million.

For the fourth quarter of 2014, Christopher & Banks expects sales to be down to between $94 and $98 million, as compared to net sales of $104.9 million in last year's fourth quarter.

It expects to operate, on average 544 stores as against 584 stores on average, during last year's fourth quarter.

The retailer forecasts gross margin to be relatively flat as compared to the comparable prior year period, largely driven by improved merchandise margins, offset by deleveraging of occupancy.

SG&A expenses are anticipated to be between $32.0 million and $32.5 million, up from $31.4 million of SG&A expense reported in the fourth quarter of 2013.

President LuAnn Via said, "Despite the continued softening of retail traffic patterns, we were able to deliver a year-over-year improvement in gross margin rate for the third quarter.” (AR)

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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