FINANCE

Stein Mart Q4 income down, to focus on everyday low-pricing strategy

BY Marianne Wilson

Jacksonville, Fla. — Stein Mart Inc. reported Thursday that its net income fell to $5.7 million for the fiscal fourth quarter, down from $18.8 million last year. The chain said it was returning to its strategy of emphasizing everyday low prices after heavy coupon promotions took a toll on the retailer’s financial performance during the past year.

Revenue for the quarter ended Jan. 28 was down nearly 3% to $328.1 million, from $336.7 million. Same-store sales were down 2.2%.

The company reported net income of $19.8 million for the year versus $48.8 million in the prior year. Annual revenue dropped to $1.16 billion, from $1.18 billion a year earlier.

“Sales results drove our fourth quarter and full-year bottom line lower than last year. While we were disappointed, we are determined to return to the everyday low prices that built this company," said Jay Stein, interim CEO of Stein Mart, in a statement.

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OPERATIONS

Washington state starts process of privatizing state-run liquor stores

BY Staff Writer

New York — Washington state opened a public auction online Thursday of its state-run liquor stores, beginning the process of privatizing an industry the state has tightly controlled since the end of Prohibition, the Associated Press reported.

The minimum bid is $1,000, and within hours, more than 30 bidders had entered the fray, the report said. Some were looking to buy rights to all of the stores, while the majority bid on individual store locations.

Big-box stores will be entering the market for the first time under the voter-approved initiative, which had the strong support of Costco. However, two lawsuits seeking to overturn the measure could derail efforts to implement it June 1.

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REAL ESTATE

Lego to open in Atlanta

BY Staff Writer

New York — The Denmark-based Lego group will open a Lego store in Atlanta on March 16.

The new store will be located in the Discover Mills outlet center. The space will feature such elements as a “Pick-A-Brick-Wall,” allowing shoppers to select and purchase specific individual Lego bricks in a variety of colors and shapes.

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