Direct Sales Way Up at Chico’s

Second-quarter net sales for women’s apparel merchant Chico’s increased 8.1%, to $436.0 million for the three months ended Aug. 4. Catalog and Internet sales jumped 42%, to $17.0 million, up from $12 million for the same period last year. The company attributed the increase to improvements to Chicos’ Website and call center infrastructure, and an updated approach to online merchandising.

Now for the bad news: Same-store sales for the Fort Myers, FL-based company fell 5.6% and net income sunk 28.1%, to $38.68 million, down from $53.84 million last year. CEO Scott A. Edmonds said in a release he was disappointed with the company’s second-quarter numbers. “No one at Chico’s is pleased with our performance so far this year, but we continue to take aggressive steps to improve this performance, including making significant investment in design and merchandising talent, new, innovative, and compelling products, larger Chico’s and White House/Black Market stores, our direct-to-consumer business, marketing initiatives, and SAP and other infrastructure improvements.”

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