Christopher & Banks Stock Jumps on Improved Outlook

Christopher & Banks Stock Jumps on Improved Outlook

Shares of Christopher & Banks’ stock climbed on news that the retailer—which is in the midst of a major turnaround effort—has raised its fourth-quarter outlook.

Women’s clothing retailer Christopher & Banks Corporation has raised its outlook for its fourth quarter, which ends February 2, saying it expects higher same-store sales growth than previously anticipated.

The company’s stock price shot up more than 17 percent to $6.67 during Wednesday morning trading; it closed Wednesday at $6.41, representing a 13 percent gain over Tuesday’s close price.

The Plymouth-based company said Tuesday that it expects an “increase in the high teens” for its fourth-quarter same-store sales—sales at stores open at least a year and a common barometer of a retailer’s performance. Christopher & Banks had previously projected a same-store sales increase “in the high single- to low-double digits.”

Christopher & Banks, which has struggled in recent years and had reported a string of quarterly losses, returned to a profit in the third quarter, when net income totaled $3.6 million, or 10 cents per share.

The company closed more than 100 stores in the past year and has been implementing a turnaround effort involving lower prices, improved inventory flow, and a promotional strategy that features more targeted, unique promotions.

In October, Christopher & Banks tapped Payless ShoeSource, Inc., CEO LuAnn Via as its new leader to guide its turnaround attempt.

“We are pleased with the improvement we have seen in comparable-store sales, which is further evidence of the progress we are making in our turnaround strategy,” Via said in a Tuesday statement.

When announcing Via’s appointment as CEO, Christopher & Banks Chairman Paul Snyder said he was “confident that she will provide excellent leadership for Christopher & Banks as we continue to execute on the turnaround strategy started by Joel Waller.”

Via replaced Waller, who had been hired in December 2011 to serve as president for a one-year term and later took on the additional role of chief executive after former CEO Larry Barenbaum abruptly resigned in early 2012.

The company called attention to Via’s experience not only with Payless, but also in the specialty women’s retail space. She served in a variety of positions at Bensalem, Pennsylvania-based Charming Shoppes, Inc., including as group divisional president, a role in which she oversaw the Lane Bryant and Cacique brands. She also held executive positions at Sears Holding Company and Saks, Inc.

Christopher & Banks said it would provide additional commentary on its recent performance when it announces fourth-quarter results on March 13.

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