Stein Mart comparable-store sales up 8 pct

Stein Mart revenue at stores open at least a year up 8 pct. in April, beating expectations

Associated Press

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Stein Mart's comparable-store sales jumped 8 percent in April, as customers snapped up linens, and women's sportswear.

The performance easily beat the 3 percent increase that analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected and company share could test two-year highs Wednesday.

Revenue at stores open at least a year is a key indicator of a retailer's health because it excludes the volatility from stores recently opened or closed.

Sales were softer for dresses, accessories and men's sportswear. Sales were strongest in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, while Texas suffered from a drop in sales due to bad weather.

Total revenue for the four weeks ended May 4 rose 1.6 percent to $99.2 million.

For the quarter to date, revenue at stores open at least a year increased 1.2 percent and total revenue climbed 3.8 percent to $321.4 million.

"Now that we are seeing warmer weather, our customers are responding well to our spring merchandise and we are truly satisfied with what this has done for our sales," CEO Jay Stein said in a statement.

Stein Mart had 262 stores at the end of April, one less than the prior-year period.

Last month the company said that a panel had granted its request for continued listing on the Nasdaq stock market while it takes steps to come into compliance with listing requirements. This includes completing the restatement of certain financial results. Stein Mart said in April that it believes it will be up to date with its financial filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission before August.

Stein Mart shares finished at $10.13 on Tuesday. They last traded at those levels in July 2011.

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