• Swings to Q1 profit of $3.9m
  • Net sales down 6.2% to $504.8m from $538.1m
  • Comparable store sales fell 2%

Plus-size women’s wear retailer Charming Shoppes Inc has swung to a first quarter profit, after lower costs and a tax benefit helped offset falling sales.

Net income for the three months to 1 May 2010 was $3.9m or $0.03 per share, up from a loss of $6.6m or $0.06 per share a year earlier.

Sales fell 6.2% to $504.8m, which the company blamed on the shuttering of 149 stores, and the closure of the Lane Bryant Woman catalogue and shoetrader.com last year.

E-commerce sales increased 36% to $31.6m, but same-store sales fell 3%, 2% and 3% at the Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug and Catherines brands, respectively.

“During the quarter, we began to make progress in our efforts to stabilise and begin to grow our business,” said president and CEO Jim Fogarty. 

“For the quarter, our adjusted EBITDA was $25.2m compared to $27.5m in the year ago period, as we partially mitigated our comp-driven decline in gross profit dollars with expense reductions and margin rate improvement from the elimination of certain businesses.”