• Q1 loss of $300,000 versus $1.6m profit 
  • Sales down 3.5% to $219.6m
  • Gross margin drops 90 basis points
New York & Co said net sales dropped 3.5% in the first quarter

New York & Co said net sales dropped 3.5% in the first quarter

Specialty apparel chain New York & Co swung to a loss during the first quarter, weighed down by weaker comparisons on last year. 

The retailer, which operates 506 stores, said its net loss amounted to US$300,000 for the three months to 3 May, compared to a net profit of $1.6m in the same period last year, which included a $600,000 income tax benefit. 

Net sales dropped 3.5% to $219.6m from $227.5m last year, while comparable store sales edged down 2.2%. This, the group said, includes the impact of 12 fewer stores in operation as part of its on-going real estate optimization strategy.

Gross margin declined 90 basis points, due to favourable freight credits last year, and higher shipping costs this year.

But CEO Gregory Scott said: "While top-line sales were softer than anticipated, comparable store sales improved during the latter portion of the quarter.

"We were especially encouraged that in a tough retail environment we achieved positive comparable store sales in our e-commerce business and in stores in the western part of the country, as well as Florida."

For the second quarter, the company expects net sales to increase slightly versus last year, and comparable store sales to be flat to up slightly.