A very tough overall retail environment resulted in Maurices first comparable sales decrease in over two years, the Duluth-headquartered company announced today.
Total sales for the third quarter, which ended April 23, decreased 2% over the same period last year to $269.4 million as compared to $274.9 million. Comparable sales for the quarter were down 6%. On a year-to-date basis, total sales increased 5% to $843.7 million as compared to $806.6 million for the same period last year. Comparable sales were up 1% on a year-to-date basis.
Profits for the third quarter were still a very solid $34.3 million, or 13% of sales, down from last year’s $47.4 million or 17% of sales.
“Despite the tough results relating to extremely challenging retail industry traffic, we were able maintain our position near the top of retailers from a profit perspective,” said Brian Thun, Maurices SVP/Chief Financial Officer. “Our comp decrease was largely due to a decline in store traffic, and we especially saw this in Midwest states that were impacted by the commodity industry such as oil and farming. We also were up against some fluctuating weather patterns that tempered Spring/Summer product sales.”
“After our solid run of successful comp growth, third quarter results were disappointing,” Maurices President and CEO George Goldfarb said. “However, through our disciplined inventory and expense management, we have been able to navigate through these traffic headwinds and maintain a very healthy margin rate. We enter fourth quarter with inventories well positioned to react as retail traffic rebounds. As always, we remain very confident in our growth strategies and our ability to bounce back even stronger as the environment improves.”
Maurices continues to be pleased with its new store performance, adding roughly 50 new stores this fiscal year as part of its US and Canadian expansion strategy, ending the fiscal year in July 2016 with roughly 990 stores. Maurices plans to hit the 1,000 store mark in the first quarter of fiscal 2017.