(Filed Under Financial and General Interest News). Chico’s FAS, Inc., in early June, was widely reported to be in preliminary discussions to consider the option of a private equity buyout or some type of takeover, this leading to a significant jump in its stock price. One of the firm’s best-performing divisions is Soma, a retailer of intimates, sleepwear and loungewear.
Chico’s has not responded publicly to the reports. Should buyout plans move forward, this could have an affect on expansion plans at Soma.
Currently there are over 250 total Soma stores in the U.S. (about 17 of them outlet stores), and earlier this year Chico’s said it planned to open as many as 42 new ones in 2014. Soma is youngest of the four Chico’s brands (which include White House | Black Market and Boston Proper.
While the Soma portion of its business has been performing exceptionally well, the rest of the company has lagged. For the year ended February 1, 2014 earnings plummeted to $65.9 million on sales of $2.586 billion, compared to earnings of $180.2 million on sales of $2.581 billion for the year ended February 2, 2013.
“Soma’s momentum continued into the fourth quarter, with record sales and profits capping a successful 2013,” declared Pamela Knous, Chico’s CFO, EVP and treasurer in comments during a conference call February 27, 2014 in which the company’s fourth quarter 2013 results were discussed. “Amidst a challenging backdrop, we are pleased Soma again drove a mid-single-digit comp among the best in all of specialty apparel this quarter.” A complete transcript of the conference call from Seeking Alpha can be found here: http://seekingalpha.com/article/2055353-chicos-fas-management-discusses-q4-2013-results-earnings-call-transcript?page=1
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