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Christopher & Banks falls to loss in Q3


Many mall retailers have been having a tough time lately attracting shoppers, and Christopher & Banks was not immune to struggles with weak traffic in the third quarter.

The women's specialty retailer posted a net loss of $0.3 million, or 1 cent per share, for the third quarter ended Oct. 31, versus a year-ago profit of $9 million, or 24 cents per share. Net sales totaled $103.6 million, as compared to $110.6 million for the prior year. Same-store sales decreased 6.5%.

“Our third quarter results were in line with our guidance, despite a continued difficult retail environment and unseasonably warm weather," said LuAnn Via, president and CEO. "Sales and gross margin met our expectations and we ended the quarter with inventory down approximately 14% on a per square foot basis as a result of highly disciplined inventory management. We also drove significant sales growth, in addition to higher gross margins, in our e-commerce business. We have taken a number of steps to drive improved performance in the business and create a stronger foundation from which to execute, including reorganizing our merchant team and the associated improved processes, and capitalizing on the information provided by our retail intelligence tool. Looking ahead, while we remain focused on these initiatives as well as driving improved productivity in our stores, we will also continue implementing our omnichannel strategy.”

For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015, the company expects net sales of $91 million to and $95 million. The company expects to close two Christopher & Banks stores, one CJ store, and nine Missy, Petite, Women (“MPW”) stores; and to convert 20 stores into 10 MPW stores; and average store count to be down 1.6% and average square footage to be up 1.6%, as compared to last year’s fourth quarter.

The company now operates 540 stores in 45 states consisting of 79 Christopher & Banks stores, 71 stores in its women’s plus size clothing division CJ Banks, 314 MPW stores and 76 Outlet stores.

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