Christopher & Banks Closures Affect 2 MN Locations

In Roseville, two stores will be combined into one dual-format Christopher & Banks and CJ Banks store; a store in Albert Lea, meanwhile, will be closed altogether.

Christopher & Banks Corporation on Monday said that two Minnesota locations will be affected by its recently announced plans to shutter about 100 underperforming stores-one in Roseville and another in Albert Lea.

Christopher & Banks said earlier this month that it will close about 100 locations-a move that will likely result in roughly 800 to 1,000 layoffs. The company said at that time that the majority of affected locations will be closed by the end of January; the company also said it planned to consolidate some locations into dual format stores. The Minneapolis-based women's apparel retailer notified the affected stores on Monday.

In Roseville, two stores will combine into one dual-format Christopher & Banks and CJ Banks store, bringing together all clothing size lines under one roof. Christopher & Banks locations carry regular sizes, while CJ Banks offers plus-size clothing.

The Christopher & Banks store in Albert Lea, meanwhile, will close altogether. A company spokesperson said in an e-mail on Monday that the location will remain open and staffed through January 24. The company didn't specify how many positions would be directly affected by the Albert Lea closure, but it said that each Christopher & Banks store employs an average of eight to 10 people.

“These decisions are never easy but are critical to our financial health,” Senior Vice President Monica Dahl said in a statement. “We remain committed to our customers across Minnesota, which will continue to be served by 48 Christopher & Banks, CJ Banks, and dual-format stores. Customers can also shop our entire selection online and shipping discounts are being extended to our online customers.”

The company said that its decision to close stores was driven by a need to improve overall store productivity and accelerate its return to profitability.

Christopher & Banks, one of Minnesota's 50 largest public companies, reported revenue of $448.1 million for its most recently completed fiscal year-down about 1.4 percent from the previous year-and a net loss of more than $22 million.

The company reported a net loss of $11.1 million for the first six months of this fiscal year, which ended in late August. That compares to net income of $3.8 million for the first half of its previous fiscal year. Same-store sales-stores open at least a year and an industry barometer-decreased 5 percent in the first half of fiscal 2012.