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Specialty retailer looks to cut costs via lease restructuring

Christoper & Banks is taking a deep dive into its store portfolio.

The women’s apparel retailer said it has hired a leading national third-party real estate consulting firm specializing in lease restructuring to accelerate and increase occupancy cost savings. The chain, which has said it plans to close up to 40 stores by yearend, is looking for annualized savings of between $4 million and $7 million.

Christopher & Banks also reiterated its full-year guidance for fiscal 2019 based on the recent improvement in comparable sales trends and continued traction from ongoing initiatives. Christopher & Banks posted a net loss of $11.3 million, or 30 cents per share, for its fourth quarter, which ended Feb. 2, widening a loss of $8.8 million or 23 cents per share last year.

Net sales fell 8.6% to $84.3 million.

“We are pleased to see the improvement in sales trends for fiscal March (which ended April 6), following challenging results in February,” said CEO Keri Jones. “Customers have responded favorably to our recent product assortments resulting in an increase in conversion rates and units per transaction in fiscal March.”

For the full year of Fiscal 2019, the retailer continues to expect:
• Net sales growth of 2% to 3%;
• Gross margin expansion of 300 to 350 basis points;
• SG&A as a percentage of sales to decline 150 to 200 basis points; and
• Inventory turns to improve as compared to fiscal 2018.

As of April 10, 2019, Christopher & Banks Company operates 457 stores in 45 states.
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