Columbus, Ohio -- Express Inc. said on Thursday that its fiscal first-quarter profit fell to $5.08 million, from $32.4 million a year earlier. The company also announced it will close approximately 50 stores during the next 36 months, primarily at the end of their leases, even as it ramps up expansion of its of its new outlet-store concept. Express debuted its outlet format this past April.
“I am also delighted to note that the 17 Express Factory Outlet Stores now in operation are exceeding our plans and being met with great enthusiasm. We expect them to contribute to a stronger second half. In light of this performance, we are accelerating future outlet store openings,” said Michael Weiss, chairman and CEO, Express.
Express sales fell to $460.7 million, from $509.4 million. Same-store sales plunged 11%.
"We had anticipated a very challenging first quarter, but our actual results were weaker than planned,” Weiss said. “Our business strengthened in April, but not to the degree that we anticipated when we formulated our first quarter guidance. While external challenges contributed to the decline in our first quarter performance, we also did not execute as well as we could have."
Express said its 50 store closures are expected to result in profit improvement of $5 to $8 million once all locations are closed. The closings are expected to start at the end of its current fiscal year or the beginning of the next fiscal year.