NEW YORK — Barneys New York’s net loss nearly quintupled in the second quarter, but the company found signs of encouragement in improving sales trends.

For the three months ended Aug. 2, the net loss grew to $2.1 million, or 15 cents a share, from a loss of $439,000, or 3 cents, in the year-ago quarter. Sales rose 8.7 percent to $88.7 million from $81.6 million. Comparable-store sales also were up 8.7 percent.

Howard Socol, chairman, president and chief executive officer, said in a statement, “We continue to do a good job controlling our overhead expenses, but our bottom line is feeling the impact of higher costs associated with our recent financing, which strengthened our balance sheet.”

He added that the company saw a “consistently strong sales trend in each month of the second quarter.” Socol noted that business picked up in women’s ready-to-wear and in shoes and accessories. In addition, the specialty retailer saw a positive sales trend in the men’s business, which had been difficult for several seasons.

Gross profit in the quarter fell to 45.7 percent from 49.2 percent last year, while selling, general and administrative expenses declined to 41.7 percent from 43.7 percent.

The ceo said the margins declines “primarily reflect the impact of the continued weakness in the U.S. dollar and an aggressive promotional environment, which helped drive sales.”

Barneys was hit by the same wave of selling that affected other retail stocks Tuesday as shares fell 50 cents, or 8.3 percent, to land at $5.50 in over-the-counter trading.

Socol said the fall season will include the retailer’s first Barneys New York private label mailer and its largest holiday mailer. Barneys is also in the middle of a significant reconfiguration of its Beverly Hills flagship. Recently, it opened its newest Co-op store in the South Beach section of Miami and this month entered the e-tailing arena with the relaunch of barneys.com.

For the six months, the loss was $3.3 million, or 23 cents a share, against income of $39,000, or zero cents, last year. Sales were up 3.5 percent to $180.1 million from $174.1 million. Comps for the period rose 3.3 percent.

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