Anyone following the baby boomer retail industry these days knows that performance has been anything but flattering. From Chico's
Losing nearly two-thirds of its value since peaking in 2006, Christopher & Banks
C&B lost $0.07 per share before one-time charges compared to a $0.05 profit a year ago. Revenue fell 6.5% and same-store sales also declined 3.5% from the previous year.
This is not the strongest quarter for the company seasonally. And while a 10% jump in average ticket was impressive, the 14% year-over-year decline in the number of transactions sure didn't sound good, regardless of what time of the year it is. Still, the company hopes it can continue this trend of larger purchases by expanding its accessories selection and testing jewelry in a number of stores.
In light of its struggles, the company has pulled back on its expansion rate and will open just 20 net new stores this year. Furthermore, a full review of its real estate strategy is under way, as is an analysis of the viability of the Acorn boutique business. Operationally, the company has hired a VP of sourcing to help control costs and diversify its vendor base. It will also be rolling out a new point-of-sale computer system in 550 stores by the end of the second quarter.
It is still early in Nagler's tenure as CEO, and she appears to be addressing many key areas of concern. However, getting foot traffic in the stores will likely be the catalyst in any turnaround. The company alluded to some success with its "Friends & Family" promotion but was shy about providing many details. Perhaps it thinks that it's found something and can expand or develop similar promotions that will help bring it out of the closet.
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