Stein Mart reducing home and gift departments

Jacksonville, Fla. – Stein Mart is reducing its home, gifts and linens space allocations and merchandise assortments to accommodate better selling products.

During the 276-unit off-price mid-tier department store’s fourth quarter and yearend earnings call today, president and ceo David Stovall said home, gifts and linens are being reduced “by 15% from prior levels” to expand “accessories, for the most part,” but also to devote more space to modern apparel for women and menswear that targets younger shoppers.

For the fourth quarter ended January 31, Stein Mart recorded a net loss of $56.2 million or $1.35 per diluted share, broadened from the loss of $12.1 million or 30 cents EPS in the same period one year ago.

Full year results: a net loss of $71.3 million or $1.72 EPS, vs. the loss of $4.5 million or 11 cents EPS in 2007. The results include $25.4 million, or 85 cents per share, in charges for asset impairment, store closings and a Q4 non-cash valuation allowance for deferred tax assets.

Quarterly sales of $363.9 million fell 12.8%, with a 12.0% comp drop; full year sales of $1.33 billion were down 9.0% on a 10.9% same-store sales decrease.

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