JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Aug. 16, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Stein Mart, Inc. (Nasdaq:SMRT) today announced financial results for the second quarter ended July 28, 2012. Overview of Results Net income for the second quarter was $0.7 million or $0.02 per diluted share compared to net income of $1.3 million or $0.03 per diluted share in 2011. For the first six months, net income was $12.6 million or $0.29 per diluted share compared to $17.2 million or $0.38 per diluted share in the same period in 2011. The first six months of 2011 include a first quarter gain of $2.0 million, or $1.2 million after tax and $0.03 per share (see discussion of other income below). Comparable store sales increased 1.6 percent for the second quarter, while total sales increased 2.3 percent to $276.4 million. For the first six months, comparable store sales increased 0.5 percent, while total sales increased 1.1 percent to $579.8 million. "We are very pleased with our comparable store sales increase for the second quarter," said Jay Stein, Interim Chief Executive Officer. "The increased sales and improved merchandise margin rate reflect proper execution of our merchandising strategy to reinforce the value of our every-day prices." Operational Highlights Gross profit for the second quarter increased to $68.0 million or 24.6 percent of sales from $65.4 million or 24.2 percent of sales in 2011 due to increased sales and an increase in the gross profit rate. The increase in the gross profit rate was the result of lower markdowns, offset by lower initial markup and slightly higher occupancy and buying costs. Markdowns and initial markup were lower due to the Company decreasing coupons and selectively lowering prices on certain merchandise in accordance with its new pricing strategy. Selling, general and administrative expenses ("SG&A") were $72.6 million for the second quarter of 2012. This includes a $1.8 million charge to expense certain software related costs incorrectly capitalized in prior periods and software no longer in use. Excluding this charge, SG&A was $70.8 million or 25.6 percent of sales for the second quarter of 2012 compared to $68.2 million or 25.2 percent of sales in 2011. The increase in SG&A for the second quarter is primarily due to higher depreciation, legal, medical and store payroll expenses.