Stein Mart

Stein Mart Inc.’s profits and sales continued to slip at the end of 2016, leaving the retailer’s results short of the previous year.

With a net loss in the fourth quarter of $4.9 million, Stein Mart still eked out net income of $400,000 for the year, compared with net income of $23.7 million in 2015. Gross profit for the year came in at $359 million, down from $385.3 million.

Stein Mart’s total sales for the year were flat, while comparable-store sales dropped 3.8 percent. Total sales for the fourth quarter dropped by 2.2 percent and comp-store sales fell by 5.5 percent.

“Our fourth-quarter results were disappointing as we continued to work through higher-than-desired inventory levels and the impact of changes to marketing, merchandising and promotions implemented during the third quarter,” said Hunt Hawkins, Stein Mart’s chief executive officer. “We were aggressive with our promotions and markdowns to clear fall merchandise, which severely impacted the quarter’s gross profit rate and earnings.”

Hawkins previously served as chief operating officer of Stein Mart, but took over the ceo role after Dawn Robertson abruptly resigned in September after only seven months in the position.

Hawkins said 2017 “will be a year of transition” for the company and that “lessons learned from last year have us keenly focused on changes we need to make to our business to significantly improve management of our inventories and increase sales productivity.”

“Everything we do will be aimed at our loyal customer and support our brand and value messaging in this continuing difficult retail environment,” Hawkins added.

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