Christopher & Banks swings to Q2 profit; plans new stores
Minneapolis – Women’s specialty retailer Christopher & Banks Corp. swung to a profit of $3.4 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2014, compared to a net loss of $285,000 in the prior year period. Higher pretax income and income operating, as well as a tax benefit, helped push Christopher & Banks into the black.
Net sales rose 2% to $106.6 million from $104.2 million, and same store sales grew 2.6%. Looking ahead, in the third quarter Christopher & Banks has plans for a number of store openings and rebrandings. This includes opening four new outlet stores and seven new stores under its MPW banner, as well as converting one CB and one CJ store to the MPW banner, closing three CB stores and replacing them with three new MPW stores, and converting 31 CB and two CJ stores to MPW stores by adding CJ or CB product to each.
Christopher & Banks expects higher net sales in the third quarter, and to operate an average of 550 stores, down from 596 stores a year earlier. The company also intends to upgrade its e-commerce business.
Expenses trip up Shoe Carnival profits
Evansville, Ind. – Increases in cost of sales and selling, general and administrative expenses (SG&A) drove a year-over-year reduction in net income during the second quarter of fiscal 2014 at Shoe Carnival Inc. The company reported net income of $2.58 million, down 59% from $5.84 million the same period a year earlier.
Net sales fared better, rising 3% to $222.1 million from $216.4 million. Same-store sales dropped 2.1%.
Looking ahead, Shoe Carnival plans to open nine new stores and close two stores in the fourth quarter. In addition, in the third quarter, the company plans to convert from third-party fulfillment of e-commerce orders to fulfilling those orders from its stores and distribution center, as well as launch its first-ever mobile app.
Shoe Carnival anticipates third quarter net sales will be in the range of $247 million to $252 million. This expectation includes a range for comparable store sales of down 1% to a 1% gain.
360pi: Meeting Amazon prices doesn’t guarantee success
Ottawa, Canada – Trying to stay competitive with Amazon.com on price may not be the best path to success for department store and discount retailers. According to pricing analysis of 1,000-plus household goods based on Amazon’s own assortment relative to Kohl’s, Walmart, Target and Macy’s conducted by 360pi and Retail Systems Research from March-June 2014, Kohl’s was consistently 30%-60% above Amazon’s pricing for this sample, but also reported the healthiest financials of the group.
In the same category and timeframe, Macy’s was consistently 20%-40% above Amazon until April 2014, then lowered its prices to be more competitive. 360pi/Retail Systems Research analysis indicates this likely contributed to missed second quarter expectations for Macy’s.
Meanwhile, Wal-Mart has consistently been underpricing Amazon in the household goods category since mid- January 2014. Together, Target and Walmart have closed the pricing gap with Amazon to within a 5% range in July, compared to a 30% spread in fall 2013. At the same time, however, Wal-Mart and Target have both experienced under-performing sales and financial losses, while Amazon is experiencing mounting pressure to improve profitability.
“We found this particular analysis fascinating because it puts a very large mirror on the pricing strategy that so many retailers fall prey to, the race to the bottom in which no one wins the gold medal,” said Jenn Markey, VP marketing, 360pi. “This holiday season will be a test to see which retailers will get it right by being responsive to the competition rather than reactive, and leverage a combination of loyalty programs with personalized offers and a unique assortment to deliver on the brand promise conveyed to their target shoppers.”