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Linens lead Stein Mart's Q4 performance

Jacksonville, Fla. - Impacted by severe weather conditions, Stein Mart Inc.'s total sales chilled in January, but the retailer nonetheless saw comps heat up again, both for the month and the fourth quarter.

The 264-unit chain reported a 0.7% decline in January sales to $64.4 million.

For the quarter, ended Feb. 1, Stein Mart's total sales were up 3.1% to $359.9 million, with a 3.1% comp gain - marking the company's seventh consecutive quarter of comp increases.

Year to date results included a 3.7% total sales increase to $1.26 billion and a 3.7% comp gain.

Linens along with ladies' boutique and gifts posted the strongest sales for the month. Performing lower than the chain were jewelry, ladies' sportswear and men's. Geographically, January sales were strongest in Florida and the West, while most other areas experienced comparable sales declines due to winter storms combined with record cold weather.

Citing "an annual increase that is 1% better than our strong performance last year," ceo Jay Stein said that while Stein Mart was hurt by strong winter conditions throughout the country, "our sales results for January were consistent with our performance through year-to-date December."

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