Lands’ End first quarter net revenue rose 11.7% to $299.8 million from $268.4 million in the year-ago quarter, with its retail segment net revenue falling 34% to $26.5 million, primarily due to fewer Lands' End Shops at Sears.
Same-store sales in the quarter fell 18.9% compared to the same period last year. Same-store sales in Lands' End Shops at Sears fell 20.4%, while same-store sales in company-operated stores fell 9.9%, according to a company press release on Tuesday.
Net loss in the quarter was $2.6 million, down from $7.8 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2017. Gross profit rose to $133 million from $122.6 million last year.
Lands' End is digging itself out of hole created by a series of missteps before Lands' End CEO Jerome Griffith's arrival last year, and it was buffeted, as many apparel retailers were, by an unusually cold spring. Perhaps most prominently, though, the company continues to grapple with the downfall of Sears, which once owned Lands' End and still runs many of its locations.
Executives aren't exactly in mourning the Sears closures, but pivoting to run its own stores is a work in progress. Over the next five years, Lands' End is planning to build between 40 and 60 new stores. Two have already opened and several more are planned for later this year, executives said on a conference call Tuesday morning. Those stores are much more profitable, executives said (without offering percentages) and said that customers have reacted well to new capabilities, like the ability to order merchandise not immediately available in stores, online.
Lands' End opened a new 5,000-square-foot store in the north Chicago suburb Kildeer, an example of its new concept featuring more inviting lighting, fixtures, flooring and clean lines. That store is also benefiting from neighbors that include Whole Foods and Apple and from convenient parking at the open-air shopping center. The new concept's layout is defined according to categories, making for a more intimate shopping experience in their large spaces. A lounge area sports comfortable chairs, catalogs, a phone connected to the company's call center, computers and a touchscreen kiosk, plus sales associates to answer questions. Another such store has opened in Burlington, Massachusetts near one of its biggest former Sears locations.
The company is also seeing a significant uptick in its uniforms business, which includes partnerships with schools as well as with airlines like Delta and American Airlines. That business yields lower margins but higher profits thanks to much lower marketing and other costs, executives said.