Byline: Rich Wilner

NEW YORK — Filene’s Basement Corp., taking onetime charges to close underperforming stores and write off inventory, reported a net loss of $31.8 million in the fourth quarter, but said it hopes the worst is over “This is a new era for the chain and I feel very good about this year,” said Steven Siegel, chief financial officer. He added that he is “very confident” Filene’s Basement will be profitable in the current fiscal year.
The loss for the period ended Feb. 3 included $30.1 million in charges. They were not surprising, since the 43-unit off-price chain announced the restructuring moves last fall. Factors and credit executives said Thursday the fourth-quarter results were in line with expectations.
The charges include $11.4 million for store closings and undisclosed amounts for asset write-offs and inventory write-offs, and markdowns related to the chain’s exiting the big-and-tall category.
In the year-ago quarter, the Wellesley, Mass.-based retailer lost $3.2 million. Sales in the period slipped 4.6 percent to $170.3 million from $178.5 million. Comparable-store sales were off 4 percent.
The company has identified only three of a larger group of stores slated to be closed. Siegel said more stores would be closed this year, but it has not yet decided how many and which ones.
The Wellesley store already has closed and the units in Syracuse, N.Y., and on Route 17 in Paramus, N.J., will be closed in the near future, Siegel said.
— Fairchild News Service

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