However, with a decline of 2.9 per cent, the net sales of the first quarter of 2017 totaled to $209.9 million, as compared to $216.0 million in the prior year, reflecting growth in e-commerce, offset by decrease in brick-and-mortar stores due to the combination of lower store count and low comparable store sales. Further, the comparable store sales also decreased 0.7 per cent, reflecting double-digit percentage growth in e-commerce offset by decrease in comparable store sales in brick-and-mortar stores due to traffic decline.
"Our first quarter top and bottom-line results were in line with our guidance, and were highlighted by the continued success of our celebrity collaborations, a double-digit percentage increase in e-commerce sales and strong gross margin expansion to its highest level in the first quarter since 2008. As we expand on our high-growth celebrity collaborations, we are excited about our multi-year partnership with Gabrielle Union, who will be the face of our 7th Avenue Design Studio and will launch her own collection in the third quarter of this year. While we saw a soft start to the quarter due to reduced mall traffic, we saw comparable store sales significantly improve for the combined March and April period. Moreover, for the quarter we recorded our highest ever average unit retail, demonstrating the increasing strength of the New York and Company brand," said Gregory Scott, New York & Company’s CEO.
"While the apparel retail sector remains challenged with traffic decline and highly promotional environment, we remain committed to accelerate even greater success in the proven high-growth segments of celebrity partnerships, sub-brands and e-commerce. We expect that the continued execution of our strategies will drive increased sales productivity and profitability in this fiscal year and enhance value for our shareholders," added Scott. (RR)
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