Minneapolis — Christopher & Banks Corp. more than quadrupled its net income to $2.6 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2014 compared to $0.6 million in the same quarter the prior year. The women’s apparel chain also plans to open six new outlet stores and three new stores in its MPW (Missy, Petite, Women) format during the fiscal year.
In addition, Christopher & Banks plans to close four existing Christopher Banks stores and replace them with MPW stores, and reformat 67 stores to its MPW format, consolidating seven in the process, following strong sales in existing MPW stores.
Lower costs and expenses drove the retailer’s net income growth. Net sales dropped 7% to $100.6 million from $107.7 million, while same-store sales declined 0.2%.
“Throughout the first quarter, we realized continued momentum in our strategic initiatives despite the challenges presented by the severe winter weather experienced during the first half of the quarter,” said LuAnn Via, president and CEO of Christopher & Banks. “While our same-store sales were slightly below our expectations for the quarter, we saw business improve as the weather became more seasonal and we exceeded our gross margin expansion target, with a refined merchandise offering and enhanced inventory strategies. Furthermore, sales and profitability in our MPW (Missy, Petite, Women) stores continued to perform above the company average. Looking ahead, additional opportunities to enhance our merchandise offering, further engage our customer and broaden our reach with our marketing programs are expected to result in continued improvement in store productivity.”
Looking ahead, Christopher Banks expects same-store sales to increase in the low to mid-single digit range.