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Online growth propels Express


Fashion retailer Express topped analysts' second quarter sales and earnings estimates amid surging e-commerce growth.

Express had a net loss of $11.8 million, or 15 cents a share, in the quarter, compared to net income of $10.1 million, or 13 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted per-share earnings came to 1 cent, better than the consensus for a loss of 1 cent.

Sales fell to $478.5 million from $504.8 million, but were still ahead of estimates. Same-store sales fell 4%. Analysts had predicted a decline of 5.2%. Online sales increased 28% over last year, and now account for 19% of the chain's total sales.

"Comparable sales and earnings were at the top end of our guidance, as our key initiatives gained further traction," said Express CEO David Kornberg. "Our e-commerce performance was outstanding...and store comps showed further sequential improvement.”

Express expressed confidence about the second half of the year.

"We expect the momentum of our initiatives to continue to build and contribute more meaningfully," Kornberg said. "Our marketing efforts are resulting in improved trends in engagement and we believe they will drive increased customer acquisition and retention. We expect e-commerce sales growth to remain solid and store performance to sequentially improve, driven in part by our expanded omnichannel capabilities."

The retailer said it remains focused on managing costs and sees opportunities to enhance the overall efficiency of its business. Express closed 40 stores during the quarter, 19 of which were converted to its outlet-store format.

The company currently operates more than 600 retail and factory outlet stores across the United States and Puerto Rico, in addition to selling products through its e-commerce site.

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