Off-price retailer Burlington Stores was impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in the first quarter as the company posted a big net loss. Still, the retailer asserted that it was in a strong financial position as it continues to reopen its stores.
Total sales in the first quarter ended May 2 decreased 51% to $798 million. All of the company’s stores were closed by the end of business on March 22, 2020, and remained closed through the end of the first quarter, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, 332 of the company’s stores have reopened and 402 stores are expected to be open as of May 29, 2020, with most of the balance expected to open by mid-June.
The company reported a net loss of $334 million, or $5.09 per share versus net income of $78 million, or $1.15 per share for the first quarter last year, and adjusted net income represented a loss of $312 million, or $4.76 per share versus $85 million, or $1.26 per share last year.
Michael O’Sullivan, CEO, Burlington, said, “Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the fact that our stores have been closed since March 22nd, we ended the first quarter in a strong financial and cash position. We began to reopen our stores earlier this month, and expect to have over 400 stores open by this weekend; we have been pleased with the traffic levels and sales that we have seen so far. There is clearly pent-up demand, and our customers are responding positively to our clearance strategy. That said, we do not know how long this will continue, as sales could slow down as we sell through our clearance merchandise. But as an off-price retailer, we are excited by the chance to turn our inventory and to pursue great opportunistic buys in what we expect will be a very strong off-price buying environment. There is considerable uncertainty ahead, but we are current on our accounts payable, we have lean inventories, and we have ample liquidity. Therefore, we believe that we are well positioned to chase the sales trend or to pull back based on whatever situation we face in the coming months.”
O’Sullivan added, “The most important priority as we have reopened our stores has been to ensure very high standards for safety and social distancing. We have implemented a detailed set of safety measures, and our associates and customers have responded very well to these actions. This will remain the over-riding priority for us.”