(Filed Under wholesale Lingerie News). Comparable sales at Soma reversed direction and headed 2.4% higher in the third quarter. The brand had previously posted negative comps for five quarters in a row.
“This better-than-expected performance was primarily driven by the ongoing success of the Enbliss [bra] collection, which offers superior soft comfort and support and our perennial favorite Cool Nights sleepwear,” declared Shelley Broader, the president and CEO of parent company Chico’s FAS.
She continued, “we are also pleased to see strong customer demand for our core Vanishing Collections and momentum from our recently re-imagined Style Essentials, which replaced loungewear. Strength in Soma is gaining traction with October being the fifth consecutive month of positive comps and we believe that we are well-positioned for success this holiday season. Our assortment will prominently feature an enhanced selection of cozy and comfortable sleep set including pajamas and bras. We have also expanded our most popular Cool Nights separates to include multiple prints and colors. Our Enbliss collection is in-stock and includes extended sizes and new colors and there are plenty of options for giving and for self-indulgence. Overall, we are excited about our customers’ growing demand for our innovative solutions at Soma. As such, we have a number of product launches planned for next year focusing on fit, function, and the ultimate answer for her everyday needs. We are continuing to invest in the Soma brand’s rapid growth.”
Broader also noted that “Our Soma brand will be back with additional segments on QVC beginning in January of 2019 as we further build upon this successful relationship.”
Third quarter comps for Chico’s FAS as a whole were down 6.8%. Comparable sales at the Chico’s division were down 10.2%, and at the White House Black Market division they were down 5.1%. The company earned $6.481 million on sales of $499.877 million in the thirteen weeks ended November 3, compared to a net profit $16.690 million on sales of $532.287 million in the thirteen weeks ended October 28, 2017.
For Soma alone, sales rose slightly in the quarter to $72.569 million, compared to $72.462 million last year.
Interestingly, the gains at Soma come as the company has been closing stores. In the three months between August 4 and November 3, three Soma frontline boutiques were closed and none were opened, reducing the number to 262. Five additional stores were closed earlier in the year, since the company reported 270 Somas on February 3, 2018. The number of Soma outlets has remained steady during the entire period at 19.
Unlike some brands which cater to younger customers, Soma, which launched in 2004, focuses “on women 35 and older,” according to repeated descriptions in its annual reports over the years. Today the bras range in size from 32A-46HH. “The sleepwear and loungewear offerings range from extra small to extra-extra large sizing,” according to the 2017 report. “The Soma team develops product offerings by working closely with a small number of independent suppliers to design proprietary products in-house and, in some cases, designs provided by its independent suppliers under labels other than the Soma brand.”
The complete CHS conference call transcript can be found here: https://www.fool.com/earnings/call-transcripts/2018/11/28/chicos-fas-inc-chs-q3-2018-earnings-conference-cal.aspx — NM
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