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Charlotte Russe posts 11.1% growth in sales

14
Nov '08
Charlotte Russe Holding, Inc. today announced financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended September 27, 2008.

Also today, the Company announced that it has named new senior members of its management team (see separate press release). John D. Goodman, formerly President and Chief Executive Officer of Mervyn's LLC, has been named Chief Executive Officer; Emilia Fabricant, formerly President and Chief Merchandising Officer of babystyle(R), has been named President and Chief Merchandising Officer; and Frederick G. Silny, formerly Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Guess?, Inc, has been named Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

Goodman and Fabricant will also join the Charlotte Russe Board of Directors, and along with Silny, will be based at the Company's San Diego headquarters. Len Mogil, who currently serves as Interim Chief Executive and Chief Financial Officer, will work with the new team to ensure a smooth transition and will resume his position on the Board of Directors.

Fourth Quarter and Full Year Financial Performance:
Fourth quarter net sales increased 8.6% to $206.7 million, compared to $190.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2007. Comparable store sales for the quarter decreased 3.8%. Diluted loss per share for the 2008 fourth quarter was $0.32 compared to diluted earnings per share of $0.33 for the 2007 quarter.

For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008, the Company recorded cash and non-cash charges of $4.1 million for costs related to the recent management transition, and a non-cash charge for store impairment of $6.1 million. Diluted earnings per share for the fourth quarter, excluding transition and impairment costs, were $0.01. The Company opened 18 new stores in the 2008 fourth quarter for a total of 57 new stores in fiscal 2008.

Fiscal year 2008 net sales increased 11.1% to $823.3 million compared to $740.9 million in fiscal year 2007, while comparable store sales for the 2008 full-year period decreased 1.5%. Diluted earnings per share for fiscal year 2008 were $0.79 compared to $1.43 per share in fiscal 2007.

Excluding the $4.1 million of transition costs described above and $6.9 million of annual impairment charges, diluted earnings per share were $1.08 in fiscal year 2008. As of September 27, 2008, the Company had $45.5 million in cash and no long-term debt.

Outlook:
Based on the current operating environment and recent sales trends, the Company expects comparable store sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2009 to be in the negative mid to high-single digit range. Earnings per diluted share are expected to be between $0.10 and $0.18, exclusive of transition costs.

This compares to a comparable store sales increase of 1.5% and diluted earnings per share of $0.55 in the first quarter of fiscal 2008. Additionally, the Company expects to open approximately 20-25 new stores in fiscal 2009.


Charlotte Russe


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