Charming Shoppes, Inc., a leading apparel retailer specializing in women's plus-size apparel, today reported sales and operating results for the three months ended April 28, 2012.
Commenting on the quarter, Anthony M. Romano, President and Chief Executive Officer of Charming Shoppes, Inc. said, "We are pleased to have delivered our sixth consecutive quarter of improved year over year Adjusted EBITDA results, with an increase of $1.3 million, or 3.1%, to $42.6 million for the first quarter. Although we generated healthy gross margins during the quarter, our gross margins continued to be impacted by increases in product costs compared to a year ago. We also executed deeper discounts to ensure seasonal unit sell-throughs as we experienced continuing challenging traffic trends. Nonetheless, we were able to fully offset the impacts to our gross margin through strong expense management at each of our brands in both SG&A and Occupancy and Buying expenses. At each of our brands, we produced improved conversion rates and higher Average Unit Retails. We maintained our disciplined inventory management to reduce overall inventory levels. Our consolidated comparable store inventories at cost at the end of the period were 7% lower than the prior year period, with units decreasing by 16%."
Net sales were $481.3 million for the first quarter ended April 28, 2012, a decrease of 4.6% compared to $504.4 million for the prior year period. The $23.1 million decrease includes the impact of operating 157 fewer stores than in the prior year period, partially offset by an increase of 18% in e-commerce sales. First quarter comparable store sales were flat compared to the prior year, including a 1% comparable store sales increase for Lane Bryant, a 5% comparable store sales increase for Catherines, and a 3% comparable store sales decrease for Fashion Bug. The inclusion of e-commerce sales with the bricks and mortar comparable store sales would result in a comparable sales increase of 2% for the quarter.
Gross profit was $261.7 million or 54.4% of sales in the quarter, compared to $285.3 million or 56.6% of sales in the same quarter last year.