Christopher & Banks narrows 4Q loss on cut costs

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Christopher & Banks Corp. narrowed its fiscal fourth-quarter loss as the women's clothing store chain got a boost from an extra week of sales, cut costs and left behind some big charges.

The Minneapolis-based company on Wednesday posted a loss of $4.1 million, or 11 cents per share, for the 14 weeks through Feb. 2. That compared with a loss of $53.2 million, or $1.50 per share, in the 13 weeks the year before.

Revenue grew 10 percent, to $116 million from $105.6 million, helped by the additional week. Revenue from stores open at least a year, a key retail metric that excludes new and closed stores, increased 18.5 percent.

The company expects this measure to increase by a low 20s percentage in the current quarter.

The company also cut costs — total expenses dropped 25 percent to $120 million. In the year-ago quarter, Christoper & Banks also posted $21.2 million in restructuring and other charges.

The company is trying to turn around its business getting hit hard during the recession. It has closed stores and cut jobs to cope with sales declines. The company had 17 percent fewer stores operating in the fourth quarter from the year before.

"We intend to continue to build upon this foundation to drive sustainable long-term sales and earnings growth," CEO LuAnn Via said in a statement.

For the year, the loss came to $16.1 million, or 45 cents per share, on revenue of $430.3 million.

Christopher & Banks operates 605 stores in 44 states.

Shares rose 23 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $6.80 in after-hours trading. Its stock added 18 cents to close regular trading at $6.57. Shares have nearly tripled over the past 12 months.