Stein Mart posts a loss for 3Q

Retail Editor 4, November 17, 2011

Jacksonville, Fla. - Occupied with clearing inventories to keep them aligned with sales, Stein Mart recorded a net loss for the third quarter as sales and comps slumped.

Net loss for the quarter, ended Oct. 29, was $1.8 million or 4 cents per share, compared to net income of $4.3 million or 10 cents per share in the year-ago quarter.

Comparable store sales decreased 2.9% in the period, and sales dipped 3.5% to $258.5 million.

The 262-unit off-pricer said August sales were hobbled by a shift in the advertising media mix for the largest promotional event of the month and impact of Hurricane Irene.

Year-to-date results were somewhat better. Stein Mart avoided a net loss, but its $15.4 million net income, or 34 cents per share, fell short year's last year's net income of $29.9 million, or 67 cents per share.

Comparable store sales for the first nine months decreased 0.7%, and net sales down 1.5% to $832.2 million.

Results for the first nine months of 2011 include a first quarter pre-tax gain of $2.0 million ($1.2 million after tax or 3 cents per diluted share) to correct an error in the company's credit card reward liability. Excluding this gain, net income as adjusted was $14.2 million and earnings per diluted share were 31 cents.

Jay Stein, interim ceo, said the company is "satisfied with the October sales results given our reliance on fewer coupons."

In the fourth quarter, "Promotions will continue to be an important driver of customer foot traffic, but we need to get back to being an every day value merchandise focused retailer. We are working to seek the right promotional balance to increase our traffic while keeping margins at acceptable levels."


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