The nation’s premier plus-size specialty retailer will continue to downsize in 2010.
After closing 160 stores in 2009, cutting expenses and reducing its fourth-quarter loss, Charming Shoppes Inc. plans to close another 100 to 120 of its 2,121 stores this year at a cost of $7 million to $9 million, principally to cover lease termination charges.
Despite modest improvement in recent sales trends, continuing declines in same-store sales in the first quarter helped send shares down $1.04, or 15.5 percent, to $5.66 in Nasdaq trading Tuesday. Among the 172 stocks tracked by WWD, only Zale Corp. turned in a worse performance, falling 18.8 percent to $2.63 despite being granted an extension by Citibank on a $6 million fee to cover a shortfall on credit card transactions. The deadline for that payment, originally Thursday, has been moved to April 30.
The Bensalem, Pa.-based operator of Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug and Catherines on Tuesday reported that, in the three months ended Jan. 30, it cut net losses by more than three quarters, to $28 million, or 24 cents a diluted share, from $114 million, or 99 cents, in the year-ago quarter. Excluding impairment charges and other items, the loss came to $12.1 million, or 10 cents a share, less than the 13-cent loss expected by analysts polled by Yahoo Finance.
Quarterly revenue slid 14.7 percent to $539 million from $631.9 million a year earlier. By division, sales at Lane Bryant fell 17 percent to $226.9 million while revenue at Fashion Bug declined 13.7 percent to $161.2 million. Catherines saw sales contract 4 percent to $65.6 million.
Comparable-store sales were down 12 percent with declines of 15 percent, 8 percent and 6 percent at the company’s Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug and Catherines brands, respectively.
On the company conference call, Jim Fogarty, president and chief executive officer, said comps so far in the first quarter were down 4 percent, which, while “still lousy,” reflected improvement across all brands.
“What was not working in the [fourth] quarter was an understanding of our customer and her need for fit and value, sufficient depth and sizing in lengths and lack of a strong core tops and bottoms assortment,” Fogarty said.
The firm, he noted, did register improvements in a number of areas. Combined occupancy and buying costs and selling, general and administrative expenses totaled $248.2 million, an 11.9 percent reduction over year-ago levels of $281.9 million. Gross margin as a percentage of sales improved to 43.7 percent, versus 41.8 percent in the year-ago quarter.
Additionally, cash and cash equivalents nearly doubled year-over-year, to $186.6 million from $93.8 million, and long-term debt dropped to $171.6 million from $232.7 million at the close of fiscal 2008.
For the year, the retailer’s net loss from continuing operations totaled $78 million, or 67 cents a diluted share, versus a loss of $189.4 million, or $1.57 a share. Annual sales dropped 16.6 percent to $2.06 billion from $2.47 billion.
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Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
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24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews