Jacksonville, FL—Stein Mart Inc. posted Thursday a return to third quarter profit as sales continued to increase.
For the quarter ended Nov. 2, the retailer reported net income of $28,000, or breakeven per share, compared with a net loss of $1.7 million, or 4 cents a share, in the prior year.
Analysts’ average estimate expected breakeven per share.
Total net sales increased 6.1% to $290.5 million, ahead of analysts’ estimate for $287.94 million in sales. Comparable store sales grew 4.8%.
“Our earnings continue to improve as a result of our continued sales momentum,” said CEO Jay Stein.”We have been very focused on refining our brands, pricing and sales execution and the improvements are evident in our results.”
Gross margin widened to 26.8% from 25.8% in the prior year, due to higher markup and slightly lower occupancy costs as a percentage of sales, offset by slightly higher markdowns.
Two months ago, Stein Mart launched its e-commerce business and continues to tweak and enhance results to drive traffic.
Looking ahead, Stein Mart forecast its gross profit rate would be about 100 basis points lower than the same period in 2012.