US retail segment sales decreased $6.7 million, or 1.7 per cent, to $377.1 million. US retail comparable sales declined 3.7 per cent, reflecting a decline in store sales which were partially offset by growth in e-commerce sales. The company believes first quarter fiscal 2019 sales were adversely affected by the later timing of Easter, cold weather around the country, and the Gymboree liquidation.
In the first quarter of fiscal 2019, the company opened four stores and closed fourteen stores in the United States. As of the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2019, the company operated 834 retail stores in the United States
Operating income in the first quarter of fiscal 2019 increased $0.5 million, or 0.7 per cent, to $60.8 million, compared to $60.3 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2018. Operating margin increased 20 basis points to 8.2 per cent, compared to 8.0 per cent in the first quarter of fiscal 2018.
“We exceeded our sales and earnings objectives in the first quarter,” said Michael D Casey, chairman and chief executive officer. “As expected, demand for our brands improved meaningfully in the weeks leading up to Easter, which occurred three weeks later than last year. Given the current trends in our business and favorable response to our product offerings and marketing strategies, we are expecting good growth in sales and earnings this year and are reaffirming our growth objectives for 2019.”
For the second quarter of fiscal 2019, the company projects net sales will increase approximately 4 to 6 per cent compared to the second quarter of fiscal 2018 and adjusted diluted earnings per share to be approximately comparable to diluted earnings per share of $0.79 in the second quarter of fiscal 2018.
For fiscal 2019, the company projects net sales will increase approximately 1 to 2 per cent compared to fiscal 2018 and adjusted diluted earnings per share will increase approximately 4 to 6 per cent compared to adjusted diluted earnings per share of $6.29 in fiscal 2018. (RR)
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