U.S. Markets closed

Stein Mart key rev. figure falls 2.8 pct in March

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Stein Mart Inc. said Thursday that its revenue at stores open at least a year dropped 2.8 percent in March, falling short of Wall Street predictions. The company said sales were hurt by cold weather and an earlier Easter holiday.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected an increase of 0.5 percent. The metric is a key measure of a retailer's health, because it excludes revenue at stores that recently opened or closed.

Total sales for the five-week period ended April 6 rose 4.3 percent to $133 million from $127.5 million.

The discount retailer said its sales were hurt by significantly colder weather compared with the same month a year ago. In addition, the lost selling day stemming from the earlier Easter holiday represented nearly two percentage points of the comparable sales decrease, the company said.

Linens, men's furnishings, gifts and ladies' career sportswear were the biggest sellers, while there was less demand for dresses, ladies' special sizes and men's sportswear. Geographically, sales were strongest in the West, Texas and Florida, but weaker in the Midwest, Northeast and most Eastern states, the company said.

Stein Mart, which is based in Jacksonville, Fla., had 262 stores as of March 31.