Stage Stores, Inc.'s total sales for the four-week period ended Jan. 28, increased 2.5% to $74 million from $72 million in the prior-year four-week period ended Jan. 9, 2011. Comparable store sales decreased 0.1%.

Merchandise categories which achieved comparable store sales increases in January included accessories, children’s, cosmetics, footwear, home & gifts and junior’s. Geographically, the Mid Atlantic, Midwest and Southeast regions had comparable store sales gains during the month.

For the fourth quarter ended Jan. 28, the company reported that total sales increased 3.2% to $468 million. Comparable store sales for the quarter increased 1.3%. For the fiscal year ended Jan. 28, total sales increased 2.1% to $1.50 billion. Comparable store sales increased 0.5% for the year.

“Sales in January and the fourth quarter were in line with expectations,” said Andy Hall, president and CEO. “However, as we discussed in the December sales release, our gross margin was negatively impacted by the promotional business environment. As a result, we now expect earnings for the full year to be in the range of 92 to 93 cents per share, versus our previous guidance range of $1.02 to $1.08 per share.”


Comparable Store Sales

Total Sales

% Increase (Decrease)

($ in Millions)

Fiscal Period




1st Quarter 0.2 (0.6 ) 347 340
2nd Quarter 0.9 (1.6 ) 353 345
3rd Quarter (0.6 ) (0.3 ) 333 332
November 2.3 2.4 121 116
December 1.2 1.9 273 266
January (0.1 ) 5.1 74 72
4th Quarter 1.3 2.5 468 454
Full Year 0.5 % 0.2 % $ 1,501 $ 1,471

Store Activity

The company reported that it closed eight stores in January. For the 2011 fiscal year, the company had a net increase of 27 stores, growing from 786 stores to 813 stores. Looking ahead, the company anticipates opening 30 to 35 department stores, and 25 to 30 off-price stores, during the 2012 fiscal year.

Search for Chief Merchandising Officer

Stage Stores also announced that its chief merchandising officer, Rich Maloney, had resigned to pursue other interests. Maloney joined the company in October 2008 and served as chief merchandising officer since February 2010. The company has begun a search for his replacement.

Commenting on Maloney’s departure, Mr. Hall stated, “We thank Rich for his service and his contributions to the company over the last three years and we wish him well in his new endeavors.”

Stage Stores, Inc. operates primarily in small and mid-sized towns and communities. Its stores, which operate under the Bealls, Goody’s, Palais Royal, Peebles, Stage and Steele’s names, offer moderately priced, nationally recognized brand name apparel, accessories, cosmetics and footwear for the entire family. The Company currently operates 816 stores in 40 states. The Company also has an eCommerce website.