Christopher & Banks Corp. expects same-store-sales to rise 3.6% in the fourth quarter compared to the same period a year ago, a boost for the company as it seeks to freshen its offerings amid a competitive retail landscape.
The Plymouth-based specialty women’s retail chain, whose main customers are value-conscious baby boomers, released limited preliminary results Thursday ahead of a complete earnings report March. 10. Sales in the quarter ending Feb. 1 are expected to increase 4.5% to $88 million, it reported. The gross margin rate is expected to expand 250 basis points over last year as the retailer has closed stores, renegotiated leases and improved its sales mix.
“This performance is a validation of our turnaround plan as our strategic initiatives come together to drive improved financial performance,” Christopher & Banks President and Chief Executive Keri Jones said in a statement.
The chain’s results are a positive sign amid slumping sales at department stores Macy’s and J.C. Penney and other struggling mall-based chains such as Victoria’s Secret, H&M and Forever 21.
Separately, Christopher & Banks announced it now has access to $6 million to $8 million in credit, giving it more cash and financial flexibility to continue a strategic overhaul begun when Jones took over almost two years ago.
The former Target Corp. executive has hired a new management team and begun to modernize its product assortment, invest in its supply chain and improve its online shopping experience. In the third quarter, the retailer eked out its first quarterly profit in three years.
Executives previously forecast full-year net sales to be flat to 2%.
The company closed 14 stores during the fourth quarter. It now operates 445 stores in 44 states under its Christopher & Banks and plus-sized C.J. Banks names, mostly in malls.