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Mixed Q2 Earnings Results for Retailers

Ross Stores did well, but others showed declines in profits and Bon-Ton posted a loss for the quarter.

A Ross store

Results for the second quarter ended July 30 were mixed for the retailers that reported on Thursday.

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. registered a loss, while three others posted profits. Of the three, Ross Stores Inc. reported a jump in profits. The other two, Stein Mart Inc. and Stage Stores Inc., each posted declines in profitability.

Bon-Ton said it narrowed its loss to $32.3 million, or $1.78 a diluted share, from $33.7 million, or $1.91, last year. Sales declined 2.2 percent to $595.5 million from $608.6 million, as comparable-store sales decreased 1.5 percent.

For the six months, the loss widened to $68.3 million, or $3.79 a diluted share, from $57.3 million, or $3.24, last year. Sales fell 1.9 percent to $1.25 billion from $1.27 billion.

Bud Bergren, president and chief executive officer, said, “We made adjustments to our merchandise assortment that we believe will yield improved performance in the second half of the year. For example, we expanded our assortment of updated and better fashions, and we have seen strong customer response to these adjustments.”

Bergren noted that the company also “scaled back on select assortments in our slower selling traditional apparel. In addition, we’re introducing the new brands John Bartlett in our men’s division and Mambo in our young men’s and boy’s divisions — both exclusive to us and both providing newness that will resonate well with our customer.”

Ross Stores said income rose 14.7 percent to $148.3 million, or $1.28 a diluted share, from $129.3 million, or $1.07, last year. Sales climbed 9.3 percent to $2.09 billion from $1.91 billion, with comparable-store sales up 5 percent.

For the six months, income rose 18.3 percent to $321.2 million, or $2.76 a diluted share, from $271.6 million, or $2.24, last year. Sales rose 8.3 percent to $4.16 billion from $3.85 billion.

Michael Balmuth, vice chairman and ceo, said, “We are pleased with our better-than-expected performance for both the second quarter and first six months of 2011. Our ability to increase the percentage of fresh name-brand bargains our customers see, while also strictly controlling inventories and expenses, has enabled us to capitalize on our favorable position as a value retailer.”

Stein Mart said second-quarter income plummeted to $1.3 million, or 3 cents a diluted share, from $11.3 million, or 25 cents, last year. Sales were down 2.1 percent to $270.2 million from $276 million as comparable-store sales decreased 1.1 percent.

For the six months, income fell 32.8 percent to $17.2 million, or 38 cents a diluted share, from $25.6 million, or 57 cents, last year. Sales inched down 0.6 percent to $573.7 million from $577 million.

Stage Stores said income decreased 3 percent to $10 million, or 29 cents a diluted share, from $10.3 million, or 27 cents, a year ago. Sales gained 2.3 percent to $352.8 million from $345 million.

For the six months, income fell 23.7 percent to $9.6 million, or 27 a diluted share, from $12.5 million, or 32 cents, a year ago. Sales rose 2.1 percent to $699.3 million from $685.1 million.

Andy Hall, president and ceo, said that sales growth in the second quarter was “fueled by a new store count of 34 and the strength of our Goody’s rebranded stores.…We continued to develop our e-commerce platform and now expect to achieve e-commerce sales of $7 million this year.”