Christopher & Banks Narrows Q4 Loss as Sales Improve

Christopher & Banks expects its first quarter comparable store sales to increase in the low 20% range.

Christopher & Banks expects its first quarter comparable store sales to increase in the low 20% range.

Plymouth, MN—Christopher & Banks Corp. saw its shares rise after reporting last week that its fourth quarter loss narrowed as its comparable store sales grew.

For the quarter ended Feb. 2, the women’s specialty retailer reported a net loss of $4.1 million, or 11 cents a share, compared to a net loss of $53.2 million, or $1.50 a share, in fourth quarter a year ago, which included $21.2 million in restructuring charges.

Net revenue was up 10% to $116 million. Approximately $5.1 million was attributed to the extra week in the fiscal year this year, therefore revenue grew about 5% when looking at the identical period, year-over-year.

Comparable store sales increased 18.5% even though the company’s 124 stores were about 17% fewer than the year-ago quarter. The company’s total expenses dropped 25% to $120 million.

While Christopher & Banks has struggled and reported a series of quarterly losses, the company returned to profitability in the third quarter before reporting its fourth quarter loss—which still represented an improvement from last year. Additionally, the company launched a strategy of lower prices, improved inventory flow and more targeted, unique promotions.

Commenting on the results, LuAnn Via, chief executive, said, “We intend to continue to build upon this foundation to drive sustainable long-term sales and earnings growth. We are delighted with the continued momentum in our business in the fourth quarter due to the ongoing execution of our strategic initiatives. Our customers responded very favorably to our well-balanced merchandise offering, improved value proposition, and enhanced marketing programs.”

Last year, Christopher & Banks rejected a buyout offer from Aria Partners, which criticized the company’s performance and said it would continue to push for a sale.

For the 53-week fiscal year that ended Feb. 2, Christopher & Banks reported a net loss of $16.1 million, or 45 cents a share, marking an improvement over the net loss of $81.4 million, or $2.29 a share, that the company reported a year ago. Revenue, meanwhile, edged down 1.3% to $430.3 million.

Looking ahead to the first quarter comp store sales are expected to increase in the low 20% range.


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Jeff Prine

Jeff Prine, Editor at Large, Accessories Magazine
Jeff returns as a regular contributor to Accessories magazine. Initially Jeff worked as senior editor at Accessories more than 20 years ago and his love of the industry has followed him until present. Since his tenure here, Jeff has continued to report jewelry, watch and other luxury goods trends as executive editor at Modern Jeweler magazine, fashion director at Lustre, and as contributor on products and trends for consumer and trade publications and websites. In addition to his editorial experience, Jeff also served as an adjunct instructor for accessories merchandising at Fashion Institute of Technology.