Bon Ton

Q4 Reports: Bon-Ton, Stein Mart, Coldwater Creek

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Bon TonBon-Ton Stores Q4 Profit Up 5.9%

York, PA–The Bon-Ton Stores posted an increased fourth quarter profit after comparable store sales edged up slightly, ending a year in which the company reversed the losses of fiscal 2009.

“I am pleased to report that, as a result of successful execution of our initiative throughout the year, we significantly improved our performance and met our financial goals for 2010,” said Bud Bergren, president/ceo on Wednesday.

Bon-Ton’s net income rose 6% to $85 million, or $4.41 per share, for the period ended Jan. 29, up from $80.3 million, or $4.34 per share, a year earlier. Revenue edged up 1% to $1.03 billion from $1.02 billion. Comparable store sales rose 0.8%.

The company reported that its best performing markets were Detroit, Des Moines, Omaha and Minneapolis and the softest markets were Lehigh Valley, Buffalo and Harrisburg.

Price Increases Ahead

For fiscal 2010, Bon-Ton’s annual net income was $21.5 million, or $1.12 per share. In the prior year, it lost $4.1 million, or 24 cents per share. Full-year revenue increased 1% to $3.05 billion from $3.03 billion. Revenue at stores open at least a year edged up 0.9%.

In its forecast for fiscal 2011, Bon-Ton said it expects earnings per share of $1 to $1.50 on comparable store sales increase of 1.5% to 3.5%.

Bergren said the company experienced price increases for Spring “in the range of 3% to 5% of our total buy. Price increases in the third quarter were in the range of 8% to 10%. We expect price increases in the fall of 2011 and early spring ’12 to be in the range of 10% to 15% range. This is primarily due to increase in cotton prices, the increase on fuel, which will impact transportation and shipping.”


Stein Mart Reports Q4 Profit Growth

Jacksonville, FL–Stein Mart reported significantly higher fourth quarter profits, after streamlining costs.

The retailer reported today that its fourth-quarter net income of $18.82 million or $0.42 per share versus $2.74 million or $0.06 per share last year. Analysts’ average estimate forecast earnings of $0.21 per share. Net sales fell 1.5% to $336.67 million from $341.83 million in the prior year.

Commenting on the results, David Stovall, Jr., president and ceo, stated, “The higher operating income and operating margins for the quarter and year reflect the benefits of our streamlined cost structure and enhanced inventory management.”

Our focus in 2011 is increasing sales by attracting more customers and building our share of their spending,” added Stovall. “We continue to plan conservatively including rigorous cost and inventory management which will allow increasing sales to leverage to the bottom line.”

The company plans to open three to five stores, close three to five stores and relocate approximately five stores to better locations in their respective markets this year.


Coldwater Creek Q4 Loss Widens

Sandpoint, ID–Coldwater Creek  reported today a loss for the fourth quarter that widened from last year, mostly reflecting lower retail and direct sales, a decline in margins, as well as the absence of prior-year tax benefit.

The specialty retailer’s net loss for the fourth quarter widened to $37.04 million or $0.40 per share from $9.68 million or $0.11 per share in the previous year. Analysts’ average estimate forecast a loss of $0.26 per share for the quarter.

Results for the quarter included a non-cash charge of $2.9 million, or $0.03 per share, related to certain retail store asset impairments, compared to $0.6 million or $0.01 per share in the prior-year quarter.

Net sales declined 20.8% to $252.10 million from $318.36 million last year. Analysts’ average estimate was for sales of $282.75 million.

Retail sales, which include the company’s premium stores, outlet stores and day spa locations, decreased 15.5% to $186.72 million from a year ago. Direct sales, which include Internet, phone and mail orders, decreased 32.8% to $65.38 million from last year.

“As anticipated, our business remained challenging during the fourth quarter driven by an unfavorable response to our holiday assortments,” stated Dennis Pence, chairman and ceo.

Gross margin declined to 24.1% from 28.4% a year ago, due to deleveraging of occupancy expenses as compared to last year and increased promotional activity, which was partially offset by improvements in initial markup. Income tax provision for the quarter was $2.30 million, compared to a benefit of $6.03 million a year ago.

The company opened two new premium retail stores and closed one during the quarter, ending the period with 373 premium retail stores.