Stein Mart Inc. said its first quarter profits decreased 4.2 percent to $14.1 million, or 31 cents a diluted share, from $14.7 million, or 33 cents, a year earlier. Adjusting for costs associated with supply chain improvements and e-commerce start up costs, the company’s profits were basically flat.

Sales for the three months ended May 3 advanced 2.3 percent to $328.9 million from $321.4 million with a comparable-store sales increase of 2.6 percent.

 

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“We are pleased with our operating performance thus far this year, which included a solid comp sales increase for the quarter once the weather improved,” said Jay Stein, chief executive officer. “Our planned growth investments in new stores and e-commerce, as well as the timing of our annual advertising spend, caused our earnings to be below last year.”

The company ended the quarter with 263 stores.

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