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Christopher & Banks announces Q3 fiscal 2010 results
Jan '10
Christopher & Banks Corporation a specialty women's apparel chain, announced results for the third quarter ended November 28, 2009.

Third Quarter Highlights:

• Third quarter fiscal 2010 same-store sales declined 8.4%.
• Sales of $132 million resulting in net earnings per diluted share from continuing operations of $0.19, reflecting a 29.6% effective tax rate.
• Operating income was $9.8 million.
• Realized SG&A cost reductions of $7.7 million.
• Cash, cash equivalents and investments were $102.2 million, compared to $90.0 million at the end of third quarter fiscal 2009.
• Inventory per store, excluding e-Commerce, at quarter-end was down 23% from the prior year's third quarter.

Third Quarter Results:

Net sales were $132.0 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2010, as compared to $143.0 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2009. Comparable store sales for the third quarter of fiscal 2010 decreased 8.4%. Merchandise, buying and occupancy expense was $78.2 million, or 59.2% of sales, this fiscal quarter, compared to $91.9 million, or 64.3% of sales, in last year's third quarter. SG&A expense for the third quarter of fiscal 2010 totaled $37.5 million, or 28.4% of net sales, as compared to $45.2 million, or 31.6% of net sales, in the third quarter of fiscal 2009, with $7.7 million in SG&A savings realized in the third quarter. The 510 basis point gross margin increase combined with the SG&A reduction led to operating income of $9.8 million for the quarter versus a loss of $662,000 in the same period a year ago. Net income from continuing operations for the third quarter of fiscal 2010 was $7.0 million, or $0.19 per diluted share. This compares to net income from continuing operations of $7.0 million, or $0.20 per diluted share, in the third quarter of fiscal 2009, which included a tax benefit of $7.0 million, or $0.20 per diluted share. The effective tax rate for the third quarter of fiscal 2010 was 29.6%, up from the previous guidance of 22%.

Lorna Nagler, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, “We were pleased to have delivered sequential improvement in our business with comparable store sales and gross margin exceeding our expectations. During the third quarter our conversion rates continued to increase as we tailored our merchandise mix to the market and taste preferences of our customers. This enabled us to achieve better-than-expected sales despite the continued lag in traffic trends. We accomplished this with a much fresher and leaner inventory position, and with significantly reduced levels of clearance merchandise, which led to 510 basis points of gross margin improvement. We are pleased our improved efficiencies resulted in higher gross profit dollars on lower sales and less inventory. At the same time, we achieved significant cost savings ahead of our plan and maintained a strong balance sheet.”

Ms. Nagler continued, “Our performance reflects our continued progress on our key fiscal 2010 initiatives and we look forward to building upon our accomplishments in fiscal 2011 as we position the Company for long term growth.”

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