NEW YORK — Softer fourth-quarter results moderated Christopher & Banks Corp.’s year of double-digit gains on both the top and bottom lines.
The retail firm managed a 1.5 percent profit upswing in the quarter to $10.5 million, or 40 cents a diluted share. This compared with earnings of $10.3 million, or 39 cents, a year ago.
Prior to the after-market earnings report, investors traded down shares of the company 51 cents, or 2.4 percent, to close at $21.17 on the New York Stock Exchange.
Sales for the three months ended March 1 strengthened 15.2 percent to $95.4 million from $82.8 million a year ago. Comparable-store sales slid 6 percent.
Chairman and chief executive Bill Prange, in a statement, allowed that sales were slower than expected, but added, "We managed our inventory conservatively, thereby protecting the integrity and value of our brands."
Last year, C&B’s inventories rose 27 percent to $24.1 million from $19 million. This included merchandise for the 94 new doors opened in the just-concluded fiscal year.
However, average in-store inventory at the end of the quarter was 9.1 percent below a year ago.
For the 12 months, C&B’s bottom line registered a 17.1 percent increase to $38.5 million, or $1.45 a diluted share. This compared with the prior-year mark of $32.9 million, or $1.26.
Sales for the year logged a 22.8 percent increase to $338.8 million from $275.9 million during the previous year. Comps ascended 1 percent, making for seven straight years of same-store sales growth.
Also, C&B repurchased more than $13 million worth of its common stock last year.
"The retail environment will continue to be challenging in fiscal 2003," said Prange. "Nevertheless, we remain comfortable with our plan to open 100 new stores this year. We are confident that our continued expansion, together with our strong balance sheet and increasingly popular brands, will enable us to capitalize on any improvement in economic conditions."
The Minneapolis-based retailer currently operates 449 stores across 37 states.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast