New York & Company, Inc. [NYSE:NWY], a specialty apparel chain with 537 retail stores in operation, today announced that based on quarter-to-date performance and expectations for the balance of the quarter it expects to exceed second quarter fiscal 2012 guidance.
The Company currently expects results for the second quarter ending July 28, 2012 to reflect the following:
- Comparable store sales to be up slightly with quarter-end store count reflecting six fewer stores in operation compared to the second quarter of fiscal year 2011.
- Gross margin to increase between 400 and 500 basis points from the prior year’s second quarter rate primarily driven by improved product costs combined with reductions in buying and occupancy expenses.
- Selling, general and administrative expenses as a percentage of net sales to increase approximately 100 basis points versus the prior year's second quarter reflecting investments in marketing, increases in variable based compensation, and incremental spending necessary to support the Company's growing eCommerce and Outlet businesses.
- Operating loss to be in the range of $5 million to $7 million versus an operating loss of $15.1 million in the year-ago period.
- Total quarter-end inventories are expected to be down slightly versus the prior year. Inventory per average store is expected to be approximately flat to last year.
Gregory Scott, New York & Company’s CEO, stated: “We are encouraged by our second quarter performance to date which reflects strong product acceptance across our summer assortments, particularly during the Mother’s Day period, and continued progress on our strategic initiatives. As a result, we expect to significantly narrow our second quarter operating loss from last year.”
The Company continues to cite its six keys to success as its drivers toward improved fiscal 2012 results. These include: maximizing sales and profitability particularly during peak traffic times of the year; increasing its marketing efforts to grow traffic in stores and on-line; maintaining dominance in wear-to-work, while redefining its casual assortment; improving average unit cost; optimizing its real estate portfolio; and expanding its growing eCommerce and Outlet businesses.