In June we took a look at retailer Christopher & Banks
Yesterday the company's shares fell nearly 14% on the news of fiscal Q2 (ended Aug. 28) financial results. Quarterly sales rose 7% year-over-year, but more because of store expansion than anything else -- Christopher & Banks opened 52 new stores in the first half of the fiscal year, bringing its total to 585. Another 42 are planned for Q3.
That revenue growth, however, doesn't tell the whole story. Same-store sales fell 6% year-over-year; net income, meanwhile, dropped to $5.6 million from $8.5 million a year ago, and that meant EPS fell even as the company's share count did the same. (Christopher & Banks has spent nearly $37 million on its own shares since February.)
Chairman and CEO Bill Prange sang a familiar tune in the company's earnings press release. To paraphrase, they're continuing to work on the product mix, but it'll take time. "We continued to implement changes to our merchandise assortment that we believe will resonate with our core customer," he said, raising the question of why they lost touch with their core customer in the first place... but no matter.
The take on Christopher & Banks looks pretty much like it did a few months ago. Can you trust management to get things straight? If so, buying retail when things look bleak has proven a wise strategy over the years. Prange & Co. want you to believe they are headed in the right direction, as their share buybacks and continued expansion indicate.
The longer it takes for investors to see concrete signs of a turnaround, however, the less likely they are to want to go along for the ride.
Fool contributor Dave Marino-Nachison doesn't own any of the companies in this story.