Customers responded to efforts to freshen up store merchandise during the fourth quarter as women’s specialty retailer Christopher Banks works to turn around operations. Same-store sales were flat for the fourth quarter, while profit margins were up.
Chief Executive Keri Jones said in a statement that the company showed positive comparable sales during the holiday shopping season. January temperatures curbed momentum that would have tilted sales into the low single digits, she said.
A former executive at Dick’s Sporting Goods and Target Corp., Jones took over as CEO of the long-struggling chain a year ago with a plan to improve customer loyalty and lower costs, including closing up to 40 stores by the end of 2019.
The company now operates 460 locations.
Executives nonetheless maintained guidance for the year ahead. The retailer expects sales to increase 2 to 3 percent with expanded omnichannel capabilities, improved product assortment and enhanced marketing to its core customers.
Costs to fulfill online orders put pressure on profits, and company leaders said it is taking steps to improve ship-to-store efforts that reduce costs for retailers.
In December, Christopher Banks rejected an unsolicited offer of 80 cents a share from a subsidiary of CSC Generation Holdings, the private Chinese-American venture capital firm that is reviving the Herberger’s brand.