Stage Stores key Dec. revenue metric misses Street


Associated Press

Posted on January 3, 2013 at 10:02 AM

Updated Thursday, Jan 3 at 10:02 AM

HOUSTON (AP) — Department store operator Stage Stores said Thursday that its December revenue at stores open at least a year rose 2.7 percent. The increase was below analysts' expectations.

This figure is a key gauge of a retailer's health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters predicted a 5 percent increase.

Revenue at stores open at least a year increased 5.9 percent for the combined November and December holiday shopping period.

The holiday shopping season is critical for retailers because it can make up to 40 percent of their annual revenue.

President and CEO Michael Glazer said in a statement that the final week of December was strong, helping to offset some weakness earlier in the month. Glazer said that shoppers seemed to wait until right before Christmas to finish their shopping.

Stage Stores Inc. said that misses sportswear, petites, plus sizes and junior's put in strong performances during December. The Southwest and South Central regions outperformed.

Total revenue for the five weeks ended Dec. 29 rose 5 percent to $287 million.

For the year to date, revenue at stores open at least a year rose 5.5 percent. Total revenue increased to $1.55 billion from $1.43 billion.

Stage Stores has 865 stores in 40 states under the Bealls, Goody's, Palais Royal, Peebles, Stage and Steele's names. In November the Houston company reported that its fiscal third-quarter loss narrowed as new brands and promotions helped lift demand.

Its shares finished at $24.78 in trading on Wednesday.