Express swings to profit; on track to hit $1 billion in e-commerce by 2024

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Express reported a strong second quarter and updated its guidance for the rest of the year as it continues to make progress on its turnaround.

The fashion apparel retailer reported income of $10.6 million, or $0.15 per diluted share, for the quarter ended July 31, compared to a net loss of $107.8 million, or a loss of $1.67 per diluted share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted earnings per share were $0.02 compared to an adjusted net loss of $1.48.

Consolidated net sales increased 86% to $457.6 million from $245.7 million last year. Consolidated comparable sales rose 42% over last year and were up 3% compared to 2019.

Comparable retail sales, which includes both Express stores and e-commerce, increased 48% compared to last year. Comp outlet store sales increased 30%.

“Our performance across all channels in the second quarter was very strong on both the top and bottom line,” said Express CEO Tim Baxter. “We experienced an inflection point after the Fourth of July and have been driving a double-digit comp versus 2019 since that time. We have returned to positive EBITDA earlier than expected and delivered positive operating cash flow.”

Baxter said that the company’s second-quarter eCommerce results were “particularly strong.” He added that the retailer is on track to achieve its goal of $1.0 billion in e-commerce demand by 2024.

“We are in the midst of an exciting transformation from being known as a store in the mall to a brand with a purpose powered by a styling community,” Baxter said. “Our second quarter results and momentum into the third quarter reflect the power of the EXPRESSway Forward strategy, and the innovative Express Community Commerce program we announced in July is the next important step in our transformation.”

Express has focused on making existing stores smaller and expanding to off-mall locations as part of its strategy. The retailer ended the quarter with $33.9 million in cash and cash equivalents and $109 million in long-term debt. It its outlook for the second half and full year of fiscal 2021 based on its momentum.

Express operates more than 550 stores in the United States and Puerto Rico, including approximately 350 namesake stores and 200 Express Factory outlet locations. Also, to date, it has opened five locations of its newest concept, Express Edit.