WWD.com/fashion-news/fashion-features/stein-mart-to-close-16-stores-732513/

NEW YORK — Unfavorable psychographics contributed to Stein Mart Inc.’s plans to shutter 16 underperforming stores this year.

This story first appeared in the May 2, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

As a group, the 16 doors accounted for $5.2 million in operating losses last year and averaged sales per selling square foot that were 40 percent below chainwide levels. Location issues and psychographic factors, such as fashion awareness in individual markets, contributed to the stores’ tepid performance, said the firm.

“This is part of our initiative to improve not only individual store productivity, but the overall quality of the stores in our chain,” said president and chief executive Michael Fisher in a statement.

As reported, Stein Mart’s net earnings for the year ended Feb. 1 grew 34.8 percent to $20.7 million, or 50 cents a share. Sales picked up 6.7 percent to $1.41 billion on a 0.8 percent comparable-store sales dip.

This year, the closings should effect pre-tax charges of about $19 million, or 28 cents a share, to recognize the present value of store closing costs and another $10 million, or 15 cents, to clear inventory.

Three of the planned closings are under way or have been completed while the other 13 were not disclosed. The 270-door chain also plans to open 14 new stores this year.