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New York & Company in outlet overdrive


Specialty apparel retailer New York & Company plans to convert even more of its nearly 500 stores to an outlet format following a strong finish to the year.

New York & Company ended the year with a total of 490 stores, of which 82 locations are outlet stores. This year, the company plans a further repositioning of its portfolio toward the outlet concept with 50 existing New York & Company stores due for conversion to outlet stores in the first quarter. The company also plans to open one new outlet while closing between eight and 12 New York & Company stores following the closure of 18 store in 2015. At the end of current fiscal year, the company expects to have more than one fourth, or 133 stores out of a total footprint of between 481 to 485 stores, in the outlet format.

The ongoing strategic shift comes as the retailer reported fourth quarter results which saw same store sales grow 1.9% and total sales increase 1.5% to $271.3 million during the period ended Jan. 30. The improved sales performance enabled the company to produce a meager profit of $100,000 after a prior year loss of $6.7 million.

“We finished the year strongly capping off another successful year of growth and continued progress toward our long term goals,” said New York & Company CEO Gregory Scott. “The fourth quarter was highlighted by increased sales, positive comparable sales, expansion in gross margin and a reduction in expenses.”

According to Scott, the retailer is focused on being a leading apparel destination by creating differentiated assortments with exclusive celebrity collections and sub-brands such as Eva Mendes Collection and Jennifer Hudson for Soho Jeans collection. Scott contends New York & Company is connecting more closely with its customers through high impact marketing and loyalty programs and evolving omnichannel capabilities.

Those efforts are expected to yield 2016 same store sales growth in the low single digits, following a similar performance in 2015 when comps grew 3.1%. Total 2015 sales were $950.1 million, compared to prior year sales of $923.3 million.

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