Boasting Better Sales, Christopher & Banks Swings into Q1 Profit

In Reports, What's New, Industry News by Jeff Prine

Summer styles at Christopher & Banks

Summer styles at Christopher & Banks

Plymouth, MN—Saying that its turnaround strategy seems to be working and customers are responding well, Christopher & Banks today reported it swung into a first quarter profit, beating analysts’ estimate for a loss.

For the quarter ended May 4, the women’s specialty retailer posted earnings of $629,000, or 2 cents a share, compared to a loss of $13.4 million, or 38 cents a share, a year ago. The latest results include a non-cash asset impairment charge of $140,000, while the year-ago period included a credit of $800,000, or 2 cents a share, related to the non-cash asset impairment and restructuring charges.

Net revenue increased 16% to $108.52 million. The figures handily beat analysts’ average estimate expecting a loss of 7 cents a share on sales of $105.31 million.

“We continue to win customers over with a merchandise assortment that appeals to her tastes as well as her sense of value,” said LuAnnVia, president/ceo. “In addition, our marketing programs have garnered a highly favorable response and created excitement in our stores.”

Strategic Initiatives ‘Gain Traction’

Comparable store sales increase 23.4%. The company noted that during the quarter it operated some 10.5% fewer stores than in first quarter 2012.

The company, which operates its namesake chain and plus-size CJ Banks stores, has seen its bottom line improve in recent quarters, thanks to lower overhead costs, fewer restructuring charges and improved comp sales.

Operating margin swung to 0.7% from negative 14.3%.Total first quarter costs and expenses were nearly flat with last year at $107.7 million.  Merchandise, buying and occupancy costs as well as depreciation and amortization expenses declined from last year.

“We are pleased with our strong start to fiscal 2013,” said Via. “As we continue to gain traction with our strategic initiatives, we believe we are well-positioned to drive sustainable long-term growth and profitability.”

As for its current quarter, Christopher & Banks forecasts improved gross margin and comp store sales to increase in a range of 8% to10%.

For its fiscal year 2013, Christopher & Banks expects to have capital expenditures of about $10 million to $10.5 million, up from the prior forecast of about $9 million.


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