Christopher & Banks now expects third-quarter net sales to be between $114m and $118m

Christopher & Banks now expects third-quarter net sales to be between $114m and $118m

Women's wear retailer Christopher & Banks has lowered its third-quarter outlook, blaming continued softness in mall traffic and lower-than-expected sales from its September fashion show.

The company said demand for fashion merchandise exceeded planned inventory levels, and also blamed late receipts associated with the West Coast port disruptions.

It now expects net sales to range from US$114-118m, down from its earlier expectations of $122-124m, and gross margins to improve 75-100 basis points, compared to its earlier guidance of 75-125.

"We believe that the continued softness in traffic trends, coupled with the difficult overall retail environment, have adversely affected our sales as compared to our initial expectations for the quarter," said president and CEO LuAnn Via.

"We are operating our business with the assumption that the current environment will remain challenging and promotional activity will continue to be aggressive, creating continued pressure on sales and margins."

Having said that, Via noted there has been improvements in the sell-through of fashion merchandise and continued strong margins in its core offerings.

"We remain committed to our key initiatives of enhancing our merchandise assortments and presentation, improving our store environment and customer experience, and increasing our sales per store with our conversions to the MPW format.

"With a number of these initiatives gaining traction, we remain confident that we are on the right path to achieve long-term growth and profitability."