Stein Mart Ramps Up Marketing

Stein Mart Inc. is amplifying its marketing efforts for this holiday season, adding a free-standing insert on Thanksgiving Day and broadening its distribution for a December circular, the retailer said during its third quarter earnings call.

“Promotionally, we will be pretty much in the same cadence as last year, but we will be adding some additional marketing enhancements,” explained Michael Fisher, president and CEO. “(In the fourth quarter), we believe our merchandise assortment is on target and, as cooler weather has appeared, the customer's response has been encouraging. We will be focusing on great prices on holiday dressing, entertainment and gift-giving opportunities.”

The Thanksgiving Day insert included a shopping pass on clearance merchandise for a three-day period, and the December circular will be an eight-panel preview fashion piece that will have a broader direct marketing distribution compared to last year's piece.

“We think we'll have some additional strength in the last week of November,” Fisher said. “Our cadence for December and January are very similar to what we had last year. … Overall we believe our projection for fourth quarter is conservative. November thus far, as we said, has been disappointing. At this point we believe the sales shortfall is attributable to the much warmer weather throughout the country, and we believe when the weather returns to more seasonal temperatures our sales will improve.”

The company also has begun working with a new profit logic system “to handle markdowns more effectively.” Fisher said Stein Mart expects to see rewards in the fall of 2006.

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