Stein Mart Inc. this year has budgeted $12 million to open 10 stores in what chief executive officer Jay Stein called its “most aggressive store opening plan in more than 10 years.”
The Jacksonville, Fla.-based off-price department store, which ended fiscal 2013 with 264 units, plans to open three stores this spring, including former Loehmann’s locations in the Miami and Washington, D.C., markets, and seven in the fall.
“Having a store in the Miami area has been a dream of ours for years,” he said of the Aventura Mall location during a Thursday morning conference call to discuss fourth-quarter results.
Stein Mart closed two stores in February and plans to relocate six units during the course of the year. It’s raised its capital expenditures budget to $38 million with $13 million allocated for store remodels, $12 million for new and relocated stores and the remaining $13 million for upgrades of information systems, according to Gregory Kleffner, chief financial officer.
Details on the new stores came with word of fourth-quarter profits that fell 45.2 percent on a net basis while rising and landing above analysts’ consensus expectations on an adjusted basis. Net income for the 13 weeks ended Feb. 1 was $7.4 million, or 16 cents a diluted share, versus $13.5 million, or 30 cents, in the 14-week quarter of 2012. Excluding a series of charges, such as store impairment and a change in inventory accounting, adjusted EPS was 29 cents, 3 cents better than analysts’ consensus estimates and 1 cent above the adjusted EPS for the fourth quarter of 2012.
Net sales fell 2.1 percent, to $360.8 million from $368.6 million. Eliminating $15.8 million in sales from the 14th week of the prior-year period, comparable-store sales were up 3.1 percent and net sales rose 2.3 percent. Gross margin improved to 30.9 percent of sales from 28.8 percent in the 2012 period. Without the change in inventory accounting, gross margin was 28.1 percent of sales.
Stein said on the company call that sales trends had followed weather trends during the fourth quarter and had continued to do so in the first quarter of 2014.
“When it’s cold, our business is down significantly,” he said. “When it’s warm, our business is up significantly. Our first quarter will certainly be impacted by a slower start and will not be typical of what we expect for the full year.
“Overall, however, we remain very, very encouraged by what we’re seeing,” he concluded.
February comps were down 2.1 percent following a fiscal year in which they rose 3.7 percent, among the stronger performers by the small sample of stores that continue to report sales on a monthly basis.
Stein Mart expects gross margin for the new year to be “slightly” below the 29.1 percent of sales recorded in 2013.
For the full year, net income was up 2.1 percent to $25.6 million from $25 million while EPS was unchanged at 57 cents. Sales rose 2.5 percent to $1.26 billion from $1.23 billion.
Stein Mart, which aims to compete with the assortment and presentation of department and specialty stores while offering prices comparable with those of off-price chains, in 2012 derived 85 percent of its sales from apparel, accessories and footwear, with 45 percent of total revenues coming from women’s apparel.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast