Mobile devices are increasingly popular as a shopping tool.
Citi Trends remains bullish store growth and upgrading its in-store experience.
The value retailer of urban fashion apparel, accessories and home goods, primarily for African American and Latinx families opened 27 new stores and remodeled 25 stores in 2021. It plans to open 35 stores this year and continue its remodeling initiative.
Citi Trends ended the year with 609 stores. Its three-year plan calls for the opening of 100 new stores and the remodeling of at least 150 locations by the end of fiscal 2023.
Citi Trends reported earnings per share of $1.16 for the quarter ended Jan. 29, compared $0.84 in the fourth quarter of 2019. (Citi Trends is reporting results for the fourth quarter and full-year 2021 relative to the same periods of 2019 due to the “uniquely challenging operating environment” in 2020 resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.)
Total sales increased 14.2% versus the fourth quarter of 2019. Comparable store sales increased 9.2%.
For the full year, total sales increased 26.8% versus 2019; comparable store sales rose 22.2%. Earnings per share was $6.91 compared to $1.41 in 2019.
“We closed out a strong year for Citi Trends with meaningful progress on our transformation strategies,” stated CEO David Makuen. “We grew our top line, expanded gross margin, leveraged expenses and opened 27 new stores and remodeled 25 stores during the year. These results, coupled with our share repurchase program, increased our earnings per share for fiscal 2021 by nearly 400% compared to fiscal 2019.”
In 2022, we are excited to continue executing our strategic growth priorities that began in 2019 with an extreme focus on optimizing our product mix, upgrading our in-store experience and investing in growth via new stores and infrastructure improvements. With tremendous newness in our 609 stores, our first fiscal quarter to date sales trend is improving as compared to January when our sales were negatively impacted by the sharp spike in COVID-19 cases from the Omicron variant. As we lap an extraordinary first quarter of fiscal 2021 when the March government stimulus contributed to a total sales increase of 39% vs. Q1 2019,
Citi Trends is planning for first quarter 2022 total sales to be down 25-30% versus the same period last year, when sales got a big boost from the March government stimulus. It expects sales to accelerate after it exits the first quarter as the year progresses.
“In 2022, we are excited to continue executing our strategic growth priorities that began in 2019 with an extreme focus on optimizing our product mix, upgrading our in-store experience and investing in growth via new stores and infrastructure improvement,” Makuen said. “Our three-year strategic growth plan remains intact fueled by this year’s CTx remodel program, the expected addition of approximately 35 new stores and the launch of expanded and new product assortments, all of which will continue into 2023 and 2024.”