Sales Down at Christopher & Banks

Same-store sales decline 2.9 percent for Plymouth retailer.

Sales Down at Christopher & Banks
Plymouth-based Christopher & Banks Corp. reported a 3.9 percent drop in its overall sales for its fiscal 2014 in an environment that remains challenging for many retailers. On Tuesday, the company reported revenue of $418.6 million and net income of $47.1 million for the year ending on Jan. 31.
The company’s bottom line was boosted by a $41.3 million gain related to calculations of the company’s income tax. For the year, Christopher & Banks showed operating income of $9.4 million.
The retailer reported a 2.9 percent drop in same-store sales for fiscal 2014, a key retail yardstick measuring the performance of stores that have been open for at least a year. A year ago, Christopher & Banks reported an 8.1 percent drop in same-store sales for fiscal 2013.
Christopher & Banks is a specialty retailer of women’s clothing. As of March 24, the company operated 515 stores in 43 states including 165 Christopher & Banks stores, 80 CJ Banks stores, 224 MPW stores and 46 outlet stores. The company has been converting many stores to the new Missy Petite Women’s or MPW format, which includes a wide range of sizes of women’s clothes in one store.
For its fiscal 2013, the company reported sales of $435.8 million and net income of $8.7 million. The latest numbers mean that the company has now posted profits for two years in a row as it works to retool its business model. 
The company tapped LuAnn Via as president and CEO in November 2012. Previously, Via had been the chief executive of Payless ShoeSource Inc.
The company is forecasting sales between $422 million and $432 million for its fiscal 2015, which would reflect a small gain from this year’s results.
The company posted big losses for fiscal years 2010, 2011 and 2012, when it piled up more than $109 million in net losses during the three-year stretch.

The company has been trimming its store count for several years. In November 2011, the company announced plans to close 100 stores. At the time of the announcement, Christopher & Banks operated 761 stores. 
According to the company’s annual filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Christopher & Banks operated a total of 560 stores as of February 1, 2014.
The company traces its history back to 1956 when Gil Braun opened the first Braun’s store in Minneapolis.
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