RTW Retailwinds reports falling sales, names new chief marketing and customer officer
New York-based womenswear retailer RTW Retailwinds, Inc. reported net sales of $201.0 million for the first quarter of 2019 on Wednesday, reflecting a decrease of 8.2% compared to the $218.8 million reported in the prior-year period.
A decline of 5.3% in the company’s comparable-store sales during the period and the negative effect of the closure of 22 retail locations since Q1 2018 were partially offset by the inclusion of sales from RTW Retailwind’s Fashion to Figure brand, acquired at the end of 2017.
Indeed, the plus-size label was a bright spot in the retailer’s quarterly results, posting a 30% comps increase.
Due to the overall declines in the company’s sales, however, as well as increased shipping charges, the retailer’s bottom line also took a dive, registering a quarterly net loss of $2.2 million ($0.04 per diluted share), down from net earnings of $3.1 million ($0.05 per diluted share) in the same period in the previous year.
“[W]e were disappointed by our first quarter performance in our core New York & Company business with February performance being particularly challenging, though we did experience sequential improvement throughout the quarter during the combined March and April period,” commented RTW Retailwinds CEO Gregory Scott in a release. “Traffic, along with new customer acquisition and weak results from our SoHo Jeans sub-brand contributed to the overall disappointing results in the first quarter.”
Having closed one New York & Company store and opened another, the company finished the quarter with 410 stores, 119 of which are outlets.
Over the course of fiscal 2019, the company intends to open approximately 10 new stores across its different banners and close between 12 and 17 New York & Company locations, as well as 3 outlets, finishing the year with approximately 400-405 stores.
On Wednesday, the retailer also announced the appointment of Traci Inglis to the newly created role of president, chief marketing and customer officer, effective June 10, 2019.
In her new position, Inglis will be responsible for overseeing the whole customer journey, from acquisition to data analytics, which will be used to improve RTW Retailwinds’ customer, marketing, and digital initiatives. She will report directly to Scott.
Inglis joins the company from TechStyle Fashion Group, where she most recently served as president of Global Fashion Brands, a role she took on in March 2017. Having first come to the group in 2013, she served in a range of marketing roles, as well as president of JustFab, Fabkids, and Shoedazzle.
Prior to this, the graduate of Ohio State University’s Max M. Fisher College of Business also served as director of digital marketing and CRM at Hot Topic, Inc. for two years, having previously held the roles of director and senior director of strategy and market research at Westfield, manager of customer insight, CRM and brand development at Express, and database marketing analyst and program manager at Alliance Data Systems.
“Traci joins us at an important time in our multi-brand evolution and in this newly created role, she will develop and guide an elevated customer journey with a focus on driving new and engaging existing customers across our brand portfolio,” stated Scott. “Her experience will be incredibly important to our portfolio of brands as we work to reinvent the way we market and deliver experiences to our customers across all channels.”
The company’s CEO went on to highlight the particular relevance of Inglis’ experience for the development of its recently introduced digitally native brands Happy x Nature and Uncommon Sense.
In the second quarter, RTW Retailwinds expects to report a low single-digit decrease in net sales, while operating income is predicted to be approximately breakeven.
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