Home in “struggle” at Stein Mart   

Jacksonville,Fla.– Upscale discounter Stein Mart has seen its home department slip to 12% of total sales during the first half of 2007, said William Moll, evp, chief merchandising officer, during the retailer’s earnings call today.

Home “continues to struggle, as it has for some years,” said Michael Fisher, president and ceo. “We have made many changes in merchandise, leadership and price, trying to find the right combination to entice customers, but I must report that we are not there yet.”

Overall, the 281-unit chain reported second-quarter earnings of $2.2 million, down 73.5% from earnings of $8.3 million one year ago. Sales of $330.7 million were off 1.7% from $336.3 million last year. Comps fell 1.2%.

Stein Mart has repositioned soft home to a good-better-best assortment, revamped its bath shop to include Lauren and Nina Campbell goods and novelty embellished towels, as well as a fashion assortment of rugs, Moll said. And new Nina Campbell product will continue to be infused into the linens and gifts assortments.

“We are testing some strategic changes in this area as we continue to search for the equation that resonates with our customer,” Moll said.

Asked by an analyst if the company had considered exiting the home category altogether to focus on more successful apparel categories, Moll said, “We definitely have a lot of thoughts going on, and we’re working some strategic changes in the next couple of weeks, but we do have to look at all possibilities.”

Home & Textiles Today Staff | News & Commentary

 Home Textiles Today is the market-leading brand covering the home and textiles markets, offering a comprehensive package of print and online products. Home & Textiles Today provides industry news, product trends and introductions, exclusive industry research, consumer data, store operations solutions, trade show news and much more.

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