Charlie Kleman – Former Chief Executive Officer
Chico’s FAS (CHS) December Sales Results Call January 10, 2008 8:30 AM ET
Hello, this is Charlie Kleman for Chico’s FAS and welcome to the Chico’s monthly sales Information and investor relations line. This message was recorded on January 10, 2008 and is not updated after it is recorded. This information will remain available for approximately four weeks.
At the end of this message, we will be making an important forward-looking Safe Harbor statement that is incorporated into this message at this point. I strongly suggest you fully understand this disclaimer.
On January 10 we released our December sales results for the five-week period ended January 5, 2008. The total sales for the five-week period decreased 5.6% to $182 million from $193 million reported for the five-week period ended December 30, 2006; while same-store sales for the five-week period decreased 13.7% over the same period last year.
Chico’s same-store sales for the month of December were down approximately 14% while White House, Black Market same-store sales decreased by approximately 17% and Soma Intimates same-store sales were up nicely.
Total sales for the 48 weeks ended January 5, 2008 increased 6.9% to $1.62 billion from $1.52 billion for the same period a year ago. Comparable store sales for the company-owned stores decreased 7.2% for the 48-week period compared to the same 48-week period last year.
In today’s press release, Scott Edmonds had several comments on the quarter, and I encourage you to read this press release.
During December, same-store sales on an adjusted basis were down low 20s in week 1, down high teens in week 2, down low double-digits in week 3, down high single-digits in week 4 and down mid single-digits in week 5.
During December, Chico’s average retail price point was down 15.9% and the average transaction was down 11.8% while White House, Black Market saw a decrease in its average retail pricepoint by 1.3% and a decrease in its average transaction by 8.6%.
Geographically, same-store sales on an adjusted basis were down low double-digits in the Northwest, Southeast and South Central regions and in the outlet division. They were down mid double-digits in the North Central and Southwest regions and down high double-digits in the Northeast region.
The call center, which generates sales from the web and catalog brands, was up 21.5% for December at just over $8.2 million versus just under $6.8 million last year. With that said, the call center sales do not count in our same-store sales calculations.
We plan to release January sales on February 7, 2008 before the market opens and the fourth quarter earnings on March 4, 2008 after the market closes with a conference call at 8.30 am Eastern time the next day.
You can always check our next sales or earnings release dates on our website at www.Chicos.com. We are next attending the Merrill Lynch Retailing Leaders One-on-One Conference on January 15 and presenting at the Cowen and Company Consumer Conference on January 16 at 8.30 am.
You may obtain a copy of today’s release, our December 4th release or any other recent press release by printing a copy from the Internet using the Chico’s website. You may obtain a copy of our most recent annual report, 10-K or 10-Q off the Internet at our website as well.
We do not generally comment on stock price fluctuations nor do we comment on or forecast sales and earnings trends except in formal press releases.
We currently operate a total of 1,037 stores with 639 Chico stores in 47 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, as well as 327 White House, Black Market stores located in 40 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico; and 71 Soma Intimates stores located in 23 states and Puerto Rico.
In fiscal 2007, we have announced an approximate 22% square footage growth for a total of approximately 128 net new stores composed of approximately 58 White House, Black Market stores, 53 Chico stores and approximately 17 Soma Intimates stores, along with 50 to 55 relocations or expansions.
So far in the fourth quarter, we have opened 12 new Chico’s stores and opened two new outlet stores in Silverthorne, Colorado and Touchstone, Pennsylvania. We closed two front-line stores in Rocky River, Ohio and Columbia, South Carolina.
The 12 new front-line stores are in the Buford, Georgia; Freehold, New Jersey; Burr Ridge, Illinois; Mansfield, Massachusetts; Redding and Warrington, Pennsylvania; Huntsville, Alabama; Las Vegas, Nevada; Greenwood, Indiana; New York, New York; Huntington, West Virginia and Rig Harbor, Washington.
So far in the fourth quarter we have opened 18 new White House, Black Market front-line stores, opened one new outlet store in Pottstown, Pennsylvania and closed one front-line store Rocky River, Ohio.
The 18 new front-line stores are in Bend and Happy Valley, Oregon; Augusta, Georgia; Freehold, New Jersey; Burr Ridge, Illinois; Orem, Utah; Las Vegas, Nevada; Greenwood and Indianapolis -- both in Indiana -- Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Warrington, Pennsylvania; Danville, California; West Hartford, Connecticut; Pembroke Pines in Florida; Knoxville, Tennessee; Cambridge, Massachusetts and Waikiki, Hawaii.
So far in the fourth quarter, we opened three new Soma Intimates front-line stores in Las Vegas, Nevada; The Woodlands, Texas and Jacksonville, Florida. We have scheduled openings for Chico’s stores over the next several months in Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Riverside, California; Fargo, North Dakota -- our 48th state with Chico’s; Honolulu and Waikiki, -- Hawaii is our 49th state -- Orlando, Florida; Peoria, Arizona; Ridgeland, Missouri; Hendersonville, Tennessee; Cedarville, Texas and an outlet in Orlando, Florida.
We have scheduled openings for White House, Black Market stores over the next several months in Cincinnati, Ohio; Chestnut Hill in Marlboro, Massachusetts and Raleigh, North Carolina; Wellsville, Minnesota; Ridgeland, Missouri; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Columbia, South Carolina; Garden City, New York and Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.
We have scheduled openings for Soma Intimates over the next several months in Hoover, Alabama; Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Now for the Safe Harbor statement. Certain statements in this message, including those addressing the company’s beliefs, plans, objectives, estimates or expectations or possible future results or events are forward-looking statements. They are based on the assumptions, beliefs and expectations of our management team as of the date this call was recorded.
Forward-looking statements involve known or unknown risks including general economic and business conditions and conditions in the specialty retail industry. Forward-looking statements may also be affected if our assumptions turn out to be inaccurate.
Consequently, no forward-looking statement can be guaranteed as actual future results, performance or achievements may vary materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.
For additional information concerning other factors that may affect the company’s current and future business results of operations and financial condition, we suggest you review the company’s latest annual report on Form 10-K and other filings with the SEC.
This is the end of the informational message. If you would like to request an investor packet, hang on the line for more instructions. Thank you and good bye.