Stein Mart rebounds with profit in 2Q
July 27, 2001,
Jacksonville, fl — Staging a comeback from a first-quarter loss, Stein Mart Inc. recorded a second-quarter profit of $10.9 million, but earnings still declined by 21.4 percent from a year-ago profit of $13.8 million, the bottom line weighed down by thinning margins, higher costs and rising interest expense.
Lifted by nine new stores opened this year, sales advanced by 10.1 percent, to $320.7 million from $291.2 million last year. Same-store sales edged up by 1.5 percent, up against a year-ago gain of 12.8 percent.
Putting the bite on profits during the period, average gross margin eroded by 120 basis points, to 27.1 percent from 28.3 percent the prior year. But given a lift from the added sales, gross margin dollars still increased by 5.6 percent, to $86.9 million from $82.3 million. At the same time, costs climbed higher by 90 basis points, rising to 22.5 percent of sales from 21.6 percent a year ago.
Adding another modest level of pressure, interest costs, while still low, climbed higher by 15.2 percent, to $900,000 from $781,000.
"We believe the concern about the economic climate reduced traffic into our stores, despite our excellent spring merchandise selection," said chairman and ceo Jay Stein.