• Q2 profit down 44.5% to US$730,000
  • Sales up 2.3% to $276.4m
  • Comparable store sales edged up 1.6% 

Discount retailer Stein Mart has booked a 44.5% fall in second-quarter net profit but said it was "pleased" its new pricing strategy, which includes lower markdowns, had helped lift sales.

Net income for the 13 weeks ended 18 July slipped to US$730,000, from $1.3m in the same period last year. Operating profit fell 45% to $1.3m.

Selling, general and administrative expenses increased 6.5% to $72.6m, which includes a $1.8m charge related to certain software costs. Gross profit rose to $68.0m or 24.6% of sales from $65.4m or 24.2% a year ago.

Net sales increased 2.3% to $276.4m, while comparable store sales edged up 1.6%.

"We are very pleased with our comparable store sales increase for the second quarter," said CEO Jay Stein. "The increased sales and improved merchandise margin rate reflect proper execution of our merchandising strategy to reinforce the value of our every-day prices."

Looking forward, the company expects to open four stores, relocate three and close four during the second half of the year.

"We expect that great product offerings and execution of our new merchandising strategy will continue to yield positive sales results," Stein added.