NEW YORK — Although results for the specialty retailers reporting second-quarter sales and earnings Wednesday were mixed, their mood was upbeat about the back half of the year as shoppers strongly respond to fall merchandise sets, and several of the companies are growing their store base.
But for the bottom line, results were bright for some and dim for others. For the second quarter, Charming Shoppes Inc. delivered profits that soared 48.8 percent, while Talbots Inc. posted a 4.8 percent net income gain. For Ross Stores Inc., net income fell 40.3 percent, while Hot Topic Inc. said profits plummeted 22 percent.
Talbots Inc.’s net income for the three months ended July 31 came in at $19.4 million, or 34 cents a diluted share, compared with $18.5 million, or 32 cents, last year. The results included a $3.4 million income tax benefit resulting from the resolution of tax disputes from prior years. Sales gained 5.1 percent to $409.4 million from $389.6 million. Retail sales included a 9 percent increase in catalogue sales to $54.5 million, while same-store sales inched up 0.3 percent gain.
Arnold Zetcher, chairman, president and chief executive officer, said in a conference call to Wall Street that the quarter reflected some softness in two categories, dress and kids, that represent 10 percent of the retailer’s annual sales. He added, “We are pleased that our customer appears to be happy with our new fall product assortments and we have our comprehensive marketing plan in place to help drive customer traffic.” That plan includes a new fall advertising campaign for print and television.
For the six-month period, income jumped 10.1 percent to $52.8 million, or 92 cents a diluted share, from $47.9 million, or 83 cents, a year ago, while sales rose 5.6 percent to $828.4 million from $784.6 million.
Charming Shoppes said second-quarter income skyrocketed to $27.7 million, or 22 cents a diluted share, from $18.6 million, or 15 cents, last year, while sales inched up 1 percent to $611.7 million from $605.5 million.
Company executives said in a conference call to Wall Street that the year-over-year increase in earnings was driven primarily by improved operating results at Lane Bryant, which had a 3 percent comps gain. Both Fashion Bug and Catherines failed to meet sales expectations, with the latter showing a 6 percent comps decline for the quarter.
A Stella McCartney sketch of a custom dress made from protein-based silk in partnership with biotech lab Bolt Threads. The dress will be displayed at The Museum of Modern Art's upcoming design exhibition, "Items: Is Fashion Modern?"