Citi Trends, Inc. (NASDAQ: CTRN) reported Thursday that total sales for its 14-week fourth quarter that ended Feb. 2 decreased 1.5 percent to $175.7 million compared with $178.4 million in the 13-week quarter that ended Jan. 28, 2012. The extra week contributed $8.8 million to total sales in fiscal 2012.
“While the sales results for the fourth quarter are disappointing, we continue to make very good progress in our turnaround efforts,” chairman and CEO Ed Anderson.
For the year, total sales in the 53 weeks ended Feb. 2 increased 2.2 percent to $654.7 million compared with $640.8 million in the 52 weeks ended Jan. 28, 2012.
Fourth quarter comparable store sales decreased 11.8 percent, the company said. The largest impact on sales for the quarter was the delay by the Internal Revenue Service in issuing 2012 tax refunds.
The IRS moved back the date it would accept tax returns from Jan. 13 to Jan. 30. As a result, all tax-refund-driven sales this year were pushed into fiscal 2013. In the last two weeks of January, sales dropped by more than $16 million, most of which, Anderson said, was due to the delay in tax refunds.
Sales for the first 12 weeks of the quarter decreased 4.3 percent.
“Last week, we finally saw the beginnings of tax refund driven sales activity,” Anderson said. “Although we can’t quantify the impact, we are hopeful that this activity will help produce a successful first quarter of fiscal 2013.”
He said Citi Trends is focused on its ladies’ business.
“Urban brands continue to diminish in importance, and non-branded business has not yet improved enough to offset the branded decreases,” Anderson said. “We have further intensified our focus on the fashion element of our ladies’ business and expect improved results in 2013.”
He also said the economy is in a fashion cycle in which price is important.
“At the beginning of 2012, we had two merchandising issues: We were not as competitively priced nor as fashion right as we needed to be. We solved the pricing issue and now compete with anyone on price. We have made progress on the fashion issue and believe we can solve it in 2013,” Anderson said.
The Savannah-based company, which operates 513 stores in 29 states, will report complete financial results for its fourth quarter and fiscal 2012 before the market opens on March 15.