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.
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)
The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
How does a “regular, degular, schmegular” girl from the Bronx, N.Y., become a Grammy-nominated artist with a certified platinum record in less than a year? Call it the @iamcardib come up. The 25-year-old has become a musical sensation, and the fashion world is taking note. “If I could describe her style I would say drama. She’s really into the dramatics,” says Cardi B’s stylist @kollincarter. See how Carter styles her bold and out there looks with the link in bio. #wwdfashion
“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion