Christopher & Banks beats third-quarter expectations

  • Article by: STEVE ALEXANDER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 5, 2013 - 5:26 PM

Results beat expectations as the women’s clothing retailer continues to show improvement.

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The turnaround accelerated at Christopher & Banks during its fiscal third quarter.

 

Christopher & Banks Corp.’s recovery sharpened in its third fiscal quarter with profit more than doubling and revenue holding steady even while closing more stores.

After the announcement of the results, the company’s shares jumped 7 percent, or 46 cents, to $6.94 on Wednesday.

The Plymouth-based seller of women’s clothes said its profit rose 140 percent to $8.6 million for the three months ended Nov. 2. That amounted to 23 cents a share, sharply above the consensus Wall Street estimate of 11 cents.

Revenue rose less than 1 percent to $118.1 million, in line with the consensus Wall Street estimate of $117.3 million. Sales at comparable stores grew 4.9 percent.

The results built on improvements in the second quarter, when Christopher & Banks also beat estimates and saw another small gain in revenue.

The closing of underperforming stores has been key to its turnaround. During the latest quarter, the company reduced the number of stores by 7.3 percent.

“We look forward to a solid ending to a challenging 2013 retail environment and we remain confident in our three-year growth plan,” said LuAnn Via, the company’s chief executive officer, in a statement.

During a conference call with analysts, Via said the company adhered to its sales plans and took fewer markdowns “despite the more aggressive promotional stance that we continued to see from our peers.”

Increased direct-mail marketing and growing use of the firm’s private-label credit card also helped, Via told the analysts. Customers with the Christopher & Banks credit card spend 2.7 times more than non-card customers, she said.

“Overall, we are pleased with our improved assortments, inventory position and our marketing plans heading into the holiday season,” Via said. “However, we expect the promotional environment in the fourth quarter to continue to be very aggressive.”

As of last week Christopher & Banks had 593 stores, but it plans to end the fiscal year with 560 to 565, Peter Michielutti, the company’s chief financial officer, told analysts.

 

Steve Alexander • 612-673-4553

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