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New York & Co. swings to loss in Q1

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – New York & Company Inc. swung to a net loss of $300,000 in the first quarter of fiscal 2014 from net income of $1.6 million in the first quarter of the previous fiscal year. Net sales were $219.6 million, down 4% from $227.5 million, and same-store sales declined 2.2%.

During the second quarter, New York & Company plans to open approximately four new outlet stores, remodel four existing locations, and close one store, ending the second quarter of fiscal year 2014 with roughly 509 stores, including 57 outlet stores. Net sales for the second quarter of fiscal year 2014 are expected to increase slightly from the prior year, and same-store sales are expected to be flat to up slightly for the second quarter.

The elimination of a one-time tax benefit from the prior year helped swing New York & Co. to a net loss, while the closure of 12 stores dampened net sales.

“While top-line sales were softer than anticipated, comparable store sales improved during the latter portion of the quarter,” said Gregory Scott, CEO of New York & Company. “We were especially encouraged that in a tough retail environment we achieved positive comparable store sales in our e-commerce business and in stores in the western part of the country, as well as Florida. We also continue to see great success with the Eva Mendes Collection, particularly in dresses and skirts.”

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Shoe Carnival earnings drop on income tax expenses; plans 23–28 stores

BY Dan Berthiaume

Evansville, Ind. – Shoe Carnival Inc. reported a 3% year-over-year drop in net income to $9.2 million, from $9.5 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2014. The retailer plans to open 23-28 new stores in fiscal 2014, including 16 in the second quarter and seven-to-12 in the fourth quarter.

Shoe Carnival’s net sales grew 1.5% to $235.8 million, from $232.3 million.

Same-store sales declined 1.7%, which Shoe Carnival attributed to the effects of bad weather. Higher income tax expenses reduced total net income. The company expects second quarter net sales to be in the range of $223 million to $228 million with comparable store sales in the range of flat to a decline of 3.0%.

“Our continued focus on store growth led to a first quarter net sales increase of 1.5%. However, severe weather and higher utility and health care costs adversely impacted our consumer contributing to our comparable store sales decline,” said Cliff Sifford, president and CEO. “Despite the difficult quarter, we were pleased with the initial response to our first-ever national television advertising campaign. While achieving brand recognition in new markets takes time, we did see an immediate increase in online traffic and sales in large markets such as New York City, and Los Angeles, where we do not currently have a store presence. Longer term, as we enter new markets we expect to benefit from enhanced brand awareness.”

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Fresh Market profit falls on higher sales; will open 16-17 new stores

BY Dan Berthiaume

Greensboro, N.C. – The Fresh Market Inc. reported decreasing profit in the first quarter of fiscal 2014 even as net sales growth exceeded Wall Street expectations. Net income fell 25% to $16.57 million from $22.12 million in the same period the prior year, while net sales increased 18% to $431 million from $366.63 million and same-store sales climbed 2.5%.

Fresh Market plans to open four new stores in the second quarter and 12 to 13 new stores in the second half of the year, as well as remodel four-to-five stores.

The decline in first quarter net income includes pre-tax store closure and exit costs of $7 million related to previously announced store closings in California and Texas. Fresh Market expects same-store sales growth of 1.5%-3.5% during the fiscal year.

“We are pleased with our first quarter performance, especially given the weather-challenged start to the quarter in the majority of our markets,” said Greg Carlock, president and CEO. “Our positive same-store sales and steady trends in customer traffic throughout the quarter were a result of our ongoing promotional successes and decision to hold prices steady despite higher food costs. During the quarter, we also continued to focus on increasing store penetration in existing markets and opened seven new stores in our core geographies, including Florida, and North Carolina.”

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