By  on August 19, 2005

NEW YORK — Retailers reporting second-quarter results Thursday delivered, for the most part, mixed results, with Stein Mart Inc. posting profits that doubled.

The Jacksonville, Fla.-based retailer reported net income of $11.6 million, or 26 cents a share, for the second quarter ended July 30, which is up from $5.7 million, or 13 cents a share, for the same period last year. Net sales for the quarter climbed 5.1 percent to $337.1 million from $320.6 million last year. Comp-store sales in the quarter grew 3 percent over the prior year.

In its quarterly report, the retailer cited decreased markdowns as one element driving its positive results. "We experienced strong, regular-price selling of our fashion assortment through the spring-summer season and continue to enjoy early success with our transition and fall assortment due to the continual flow of fresh merchandise into the stores," said Michael D. Fisher, president and chief executive officer, in a statement.

For York, Pa.-based Bon-Ton Stores Inc., results were not as good. The company reported a net loss of $1.4 million, or 9 cents a share, for the second quarter ended July 30. In the prior year, Bon-Ton had a net loss of $388,000, or 2 cents per share. The second-quarter loss in 2005 includes an after-tax charge of 4 cents a share from the sale of the company's proprietary credit card operations. Total sales for the most recent quarter declined 3.5 percent to $274.3 million from $284.2 million a year ago. Comp-store sales decreased 3 percent.

James H. Baireuther, vice chairman and chief administrative officer of Bon-Ton, attributed the declining numbers to the sale of "non-go-forward" merchandise during the spring months. "These goods generated nonrecurring clearance sales of approximately $27 million in the first half of 2004. The replacement of sales from new merchandise did not occur to the degree we had anticipated," he said. Baireuther also said cooler weather in May had a negative impact on apparel sales.

Specialty retailer Aéropostale Inc. also had a disappointing quarter. The company reported a decline in net income to $7.5 million, or 13 cents a share, for the quarter ended July 30, down from $10.9 million, or 19 cents a share, in the same period last year. Net sales for the quarter increased 19.5 percent to $232.8 million from $194.9 million. Comp-store sales decreased 2.2 percent in the quarter versus a year-ago gain of 20 percent.

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