- Express on Thursday said that it cut 10% of the workforce at its corporate office in Columbus, Ohio, which will result in an estimated $13 million in cost savings in 2021, according to a third quarter earnings presentation.
- Net sales decreased 34% to $332.1 million, down from $488.5 million year over year. Operating losses were $110.9 million, compared to a loss of $6.7 million in the third quarter last year, and net loss was $90.3 million. Digital transactions were up 17% for the quarter, according to a company press release.
- Comparable sales were down 30%, due to "continued steep declines in wear-to-work and occasion-based categories," according to the company.
Express has pulled back on its corporate workforce once more. The company started the year by announcing that it was reducing staff at its headquarters and its New York City design studio.
"Further reducing our workforce was a difficult decision, but was appropriate to calibrate the organization to capabilities of this new operating model," CEO Tim Baxter said, referring to the retailer's inventory planning and management systems, which he said is helping the company to operate with improved efficiency.
The retailer's aesthetic favors workwear and event clothing — two apparel categories that are feeling the pressure of dramatically reduced sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic as shoppers reach for comfortable clothing.
Yet, clothing overall was having problems well before the pandemic, with many apparel-leaning retailers filing for bankruptcy over the past few years. The health crisis accelerated what was already in play, and temporary store closures for specialty retailers in the spring served as a catalyst to drive down clothing and accessories sales by 89% in April. The category slowly started to recover in the months following, with many specialty apparel retailers showing signs of a comeback in the third quarter.
But, Express may have a longer path to that type of recovery. Express "may be well positioned at some point in FY21 as demand for dresses/suiting return (and as competitors retreat)," Roxanne Meyer, managing director at MKM Partners said in emailed comments. "[T]he reality is that demand for wear-to-work/occasion is not imminently improving, and the environment remains uncertain."
The company currently operates over 500 retail and factory outlet stores in the United States. In January, the company said it would close around 100 stores by 2022.