US women's apparel retailer Christopher & Banks has lowered its fourth-quarter sales guidance, after being forced to close some stores because of bad weather.

The company now expects fourth-quarter same-store sales to be flat or slightly up year-on-year, compared to its earlier guidance for a low-single digit increase.

But gross margin is expected to rise 150-200 basis points, up from earlier guidance for 100-150 basis points, due to fewer promotions than anticipated.

President and CEO LuAnn Via said: "Given the challenges created by weather and a difficult retail environment, overall we are very pleased with our performance to-date for the quarter."

While its top line has been "modestly impacted" by weather-related store closures, Via noted, the company is exceeding its gross margin expectations.

"We continue to see favourable reaction to our merchandise assortments and our marketing programmes designed to entice our customer are working," she added. 

"Overall, we believe that our merchandise assortments, marketing programmes and retail strategy will continue to drive sales and earnings growth longer term and we remain on track with our three year plan. At the same time, we will continue to carefully monitor the retail environment and manage our inventory levels and expenses accordingly."