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Mothers Work reports strong sales performance in Aug

05
Sep '08
Mothers Work Inc, the world's leading maternity apparel retailer, announced that net sales for the month of August 2008 decreased 5.0% to $44.8 million from $47.1 million reported for the month of August 2007, and announced that its comparable store sales increased 7.2% for the month of August 2008.

The decrease in sales versus last year resulted primarily from decreased sales from the Company's licensed relationship and a decrease in Sears leased department sales, due to the closure of all of the Company's remaining leased departments within Sears stores during the month of June 2008, partially offset by increased comparable store sales.

A portion of the decrease in August sales from the licensed relationship reflects a shift in the monthly timing of product shipments compared to last year.

The Company's comparable store sales for August 2008 increased 7.2% (based on 971 locations) versus a comparable store sales decrease of 3.7% (based on 1,384 locations) for August 2007.

The comparable store sales increase of 7.2% for August 2008 was favorably impacted by approximately 4 percentage points due to having five Saturdays and five Sundays in August 2008 compared to four Saturdays and four Sundays in August 2007 and due to the earlier timing of Labor Day compared to last year.

During August 2008, the Company opened two stores, including one multi-brand store opening, and closed five stores, including three store closings related to multi-brand store openings.

As of the end of August 2008, the Company operates 756 stores, 282 leased department locations and 1,038 total retail locations, compared to 784 stores, 796 leased department locations and 1,580 total retail locations operated at the end of August 2007.

The decrease in leased department locations at the end of August 2008 versus the end of August 2007 predominantly reflects the closure of the leased departments within Sears stores as compared to the 502 Sears leased departments operated by the Company at the end of August 2007.

Rebecca Matthias, President and Chief Creative Officer of Mothers Work, noted, "We are very pleased to report another month of strong sales performance, despite the continued weak overall economic and retail environment.

Our comparable store sales increased 7.2%, as we anniversaried weaker sales results from a year ago and continued to refine our merchandise assortments and our in-store merchandise presentation.

Even excluding the approximately 4 percentage point benefit from having an extra Saturday and Sunday this August compared to last year, our adjusted comparable store sales increased approximately 3.2%, which we are very proud of given the weak macro environment.

We should point out, though, that our gross margin in August was somewhat lower than planned, as our sales were especially strong in marked down Spring and Summer merchandise.

"Looking forward, we feel very good about our product lines and we are optimistic about seeing continued improvement in our sales trend.


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