DOV CHARNEY’S ROAD TRIP: American Apparel reported strong December sales numbers on Wednesday — and a Groupon promotion helped give the retailer a top-line boost in the period. The company sold about 100,000 deals through Groupon the week before Black Friday. Through December, shoppers redeemed the Groupon purchases for more than 150,000 garments. The company reported a total sales increase of 15 percent in December, to $56.3 million, which included an 11 percent bump in comp store sales, a 25 percent jump in online sales and a 25 percent increase in wholesale sales.
Dov Charney, chairman and chief executive officer of American Apparel, said the increases were largely due to improvements in production efficiency over the 2010 period. “We’re getting our groove back a bit,” he said from San Antonio, where he’s on the closing leg of a 10-day road trip through the South, visiting a string of American Apparel stores he has never seen. On the road since Christmas, the drive took him from Charlotte, N.C., down to St. Augustine, Fla., then up to Memphis and ended in Texas. “We’re methodically going through each door, inspecting them and looking for ways to improve productivity,” said Charney.
American Apparel continues to seek new financing options for its crippling debt load, which includes $47.6 million owed on a Bank of America credit facility that matures in July and $114 million owed to Lion Capital.