By  on August 30, 2007

The bulk of companies reporting second-quarter results Wednesday delivered weaker profits during a period of heavy markdowns and summer clearances.

Women's apparel retailer Chico's FAS Inc. saw a 28 percent dip in second-quarter earnings, hurt by sluggish same-store sales at both divisions. For the quarter ended Aug. 4, earnings dropped to $38.7 million, or 22 cents a diluted share, from $53.8 million, or 31 cents, in last year's period as sales increased 8 percent to $436 million from $403.4 million. Same-store sales declined 5.6 percent.

By division, comps decreased 6 percent at Chico's and 3 percent at White House|Black Market. While the company said it is optimistic for the fall and holiday season, it still expects a decrease in earnings in the third quarter.

Coldwater Creek Inc. reported earnings that slid 27.6 percent for the second quarter to $8.7 million, or 9 cents a diluted share, from $12 million, or 13 cents a share, as sales rose 17 percent to $253.5 million from $216.4 million. Total same-store sales declined 6 percent.

Citi Trends Inc. posted a 50 percent drop in second-quarter earnings to $627,000, or 4 cents a diluted share, from $1.3 million, or 9 cents, in the year-ago period. Sales climbed 27 percent to $96.8 million from $76.3 million, while total same-store sales increased 3.4 percent.

Jewelry retailer Finlay Enterprises Inc. widened its loss in the second quarter to $8.4 million, or 92 cents a diluted share, from a loss of $4 million, or 44 cents, in the year-ago period. Sales for the second quarter fell 1 percent to $148 million from $149.3 million, while same-store sales decreased 3.6 percent.

The company said the luxury sector remains strong, and the Carlyle stores and Bloomingdale's departments continue to trend positively. Finlay expects a loss in the third quarter in the range of $1.10 to $1.20 a diluted share, and a loss in the full-year period of about 40 cents to 55 cents a diluted share.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong-based apparel retailer Esprit Holdings Ltd. reported robust full-year earnings, with strength in European sales.

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