Christopher & Banks narrowed its loss in its fiscal first quarter and saw some encouraging gains in sales amid a difficult landscape for apparel retailers.
The Plymouth-based specialty women’s retailer has been struggling for about a year. But in the three months ended April 30, its sales rose 9.2 percent to $100 million, up from $91.6 million. Its comparable sales rose 6 percent in the first quarter.
The results, reported Thursday morning, represented easy comparisons as the retailer had a difficult first quarter last year when it grappled with merchandise shipment problems because of strikes at West Coast ports.
The company reported a net loss of $200,000, compared with a net loss of $1.4 million a year ago.
“We were well-positioned in our merchandise assortment as we optimized our mix of fashion basics and trend-right styles, and saw strong growth in our special sizes offering across all channels,” CEO LuAnn Via said in a statement. “Our e-commerce business also posted strong gains, primarily the result of effective digital marketing efforts.”
As the retailer’s turnaround effort has lost momentum, the company has been facing increased criticism from an activist shareholder. Earlier this year, the company announced a major overhaul of its board. The activist shareholder, Jonathan Duskin of Macellum Capital Management, and three other new board members will stand for election at Christopher & Banks’ annual meeting later this month. Six current directors will be exiting the board.