Stein Mart appoints new director of e-commerce following solid first quarter

Stein Mart has named Sara Meza as director of e-commerce. Although Meza came on board in April — after a 12-year tenure at Belk where she led the original launch of the retailer’s website business — the company made the announcement in conjunction with solid first-quarter results.

Net income for the quarter decreased to $14.1 million, or $0.31 per diluted share, from a net income of $14.7 million, or $0.33 per diluted share in 2013.

Once the weather improved, however, so did Stein Mart’s comparable-store sales. They increased 2.6% over last year’s first quarter. Total sales for the quarter were $328.9 million compared to $321.4 million for last year’s first quarter.

"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. We continue to be excited about our growth opportunities as we open more stores and continue to produce solid same store sales results," said CEO Jay Stein.

The company ended the quarter with 263 stores compared to 262 at the end of the first quarter last year. During the quarter, one new store was opened, two were closed and three were relocated.

Two other new stores, in Aventura, Fla. (Miami), and Falls Church, Va. (Washington D.C.), were opened last week as part of this year's significant store expansion plan that includes a total of 10 new stores and six relocations. Pre-opening costs related to new and relocated stores were $1.3 million in the first quarter of 2014 compared to $0.5 million in the first quarter last year.



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