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Women’s apparel retailer closes headquarters lease deal

Christopher & Banks has just completed a transaction that it expects will give the company more financial flexibility.

The women’s apparel retailer has closed on an agreement with a private, unaffiliated investor group to sell and lease back its Plymouth, Minnesota corporate headquarters. The deal is worth $13.65 million.

The company estimates that the net expense impact in the first year of the lease will be approximately $300,000, including rent expense, net of depreciation expense and the amortized gain on the sale. The company expects the transition “to provide greater financial flexibility as we execute on our strategic initiatives to drive improved performance,” said Keri Jones, Christopher & Banks president and CEO.

Similar to many mall-based apparel retailers, Christopher & Banks has struggled in recent years, challenged by declining foot traffic and increased competition from both online and off-price retailers. The chain’s sales and profits continued to decline in the past year, but the company is adding strategic initiatives across merchandising, marketing, e-commerce, and store operations, to stabilize the business and move toward more consistent financial performance, according to the company.

While its same-store sales were up 5.7% in its fourth quarter, the company posted a net loss of $8.8 million for the period. However, this is compared to a net loss of $17.2 million for the prior year.

Christopher & Banks operates 462 stores in 45 states.
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