Retailer Says Will Return to Net Store Growth in 2010-2011

April 22, 2009
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“We expect to return to net store growth in the 2010 to 2011 timeframe,” said Robert Alderson, Kirkland, Inc.’s president and chief executive officer, when he announced the specialty home décor retailer’s fiscal 2008 numbers. The retailer’s comparable store sales for the 52-week period ending January 31, 2009 increased 3.6 percent. Comparable store sales in mall stores increased 6.9 percent, while comparable store sales in off-mall stores increased 2.1 percent.

“The decisions many retailers are being forced to make in today’s economy related to paring unproductive stores, renegotiating leases, and cutting overhead costs were already made or underway at Kirkland’s over the last 16 months,” he stated. “With solid momentum and the merchandise reconnection we have made with our core customers, we believe we are in the unique position of pursing a disciplined strategy with respect to new store openings. These openings will consist of replacements of closing mall stores and selected new openings in core geographic areas.”

Kirkland’s started fiscal 2009 with 299 stores compared with 355 stores a year ago. For fiscal 2009, the store based is expected to average approximately 30 stores less per quarter than comparable quarters of fiscal 2008. Closings for the year are expected to reach approximately 35 to 40 stores, with approximately half of those closing during the first half of 20009, and the other half closing after the holiday season in January 2010. New store openings are expected to be approximately 15 to 20 stores in fiscal 2009 with the largest concentration in the third and fourth quarters.