Stein Mart March Hit By Weather, Easter Timing

For the five-week period ended April 6, Stein Mart, Inc. reported a 4.3% gain in total sales to $133 million. Comparable store sales fell by 2.8%, however.

The company said linens, men’s furnishings, gifts and ladies’ career sportswear posted better sales for the month, while dresses, ladies’ special sizes and men’s sportswear lagged. In terms of geographical regions, March sales were strongest in the West, Texas and Florida, while the Midwest, Northeast and most eastern states were weaker.

“March sales were adversely impacted by much colder weather compared to last year and, of course, the lost selling day due to the earlier Easter which represents nearly two percentage points of the comp sales decrease. Our comparable store sales were positive until the last week of the month when the anticipated lower post-Easter selling occurred,” said Jay Stein, interim CEO. “This year, more than ever, it will be important to combine March and April sales results to get a true picture of our spring selling season due to this year’s Easter calendar shift.”

Stein Mart operated 262 stores at the end of March versus 264 stores at the end of the month last year.