Chico’s FAS, Inc. Reports July Sales

2008-08-07 07:30:00

     - Quarterly Earnings Estimated Below First Call Range of Estimates

                  - Chico's Brand Inventory Down Over 10%



    FORT MYERS, Fla., Aug. 7 /EMWNews/ -- Chico's FAS, Inc.

(NYSE: CHS) today reported that net sales for the four week period ended

August 2, 2008 decreased 7.3% to $112.5 million from the $121.4 million

reported for the four week period ended August 4, 2007. Comparable store

sales for the same period decreased 18.5% compared to the July 2007 period.



    



    For the thirteen week period ended August 2, 2008, net sales decreased

7.1% to $405.2 million from the $436.0 million reported for the thirteen

week period ended August 4, 2007. For the same thirteen week period,

comparable store sales decreased 15.9% compared to the second quarter of

2007.



    For the twenty-six week period ended August 2, 2008, net sales

decreased 8.4% to $814.8 million from the $889.1 million reported for the

twenty-six week period ended August 4, 2007. For the same twenty-six week

period, comparable store sales decreased 16.7% compared to the first half

of 2007.



    Based on the preliminary operating results for the thirteen weeks ended

August 2, 2008, the Company expects second quarter earnings per diluted

share to be in line with earlier commentary but below the current range of

First Call estimates of 0.05 to $0.11, compared to the $0.22 per diluted

share reported for the same period last year. The lower earnings were

primarily a result of lower sales for the quarter and higher markdowns in

the Chico's brand made necessary to align merchandise inventory levels

closer to the current sales trends. The Chico's brand end-of-quarter

inventories are expected to be down in the range of 10% to 11% per square

foot at cost compared to the second quarter of 2007. The Company will

report second quarter operating results, and preliminary August sales, on

August 26, 2008.



    Commenting on the Company's outlook for the second quarter, Chairman,

President and CEO Scott A. Edmonds said, "Consistent with our comments at

the end of the first quarter, we were aggressive on markdowns at the

Chico's brand to help drive business and manage inventory levels to lower

comparable store sales trends. While this resulted in lower earnings for

the quarter, our inventories are better positioned as we go into fall

season. Our balance sheet remains strong, with meaningful free cash flows

expected through the remainder of the year. We currently have no debt and

approximately $275 million in cash and marketable securities. Additionally,

we continue to focus on expense control throughout the organization."



    The Company is a specialty retailer of private branded, sophisticated,

casual-to-dressy clothing, intimates, complementary accessories, and other

non-clothing gift items. The Company operates 1,077 women's specialty

stores, including stores in 49 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S.

Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico operating under the Chico's, White House |

Black Market and Soma Intimates names. The Company has 619 Chico's

front-line stores, 39 Chico's outlet stores, 329 White House | Black Market

front-line stores, 19 White House | Black Market outlet stores, 70 Soma

Intimates front-line stores and 1 Soma Intimates outlet store.



    Certain statements contained herein, including without limitation,

statements addressing the beliefs, plans, objectives, estimates or

expectations of the Company or future results or events constitute

"forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities

Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended. Such forward-looking statements

involve known or unknown risks, including, but not limited to, general

economic and business conditions, and conditions in the specialty retail

industry. There can be no assurance that the actual future results,

performance, or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking

statements will occur. Users of forward-looking statements are encouraged

to review the Company's latest annual report on Form 10-K, its filings on

Form 10-Q, management's discussion and analysis in the Company's latest

annual report to stockholders, the Company's filings on Form 8-K, and other

federal securities law filings for a description of other important factors

that may affect the Company's business, results of operations and financial

condition. The Company does not undertake to publicly update or revise its

forward-looking statements even if experience or future changes make it

clear that projected results expressed or implied in such statements will

not be realized.



    For more detailed information, please call (877) 424-4267 to listen to

the Company's monthly sales information and investor relations line



    A copy of a slide show addressing the Company's recent financial

results and current plans for expansion is available on the Company's

website at http://www.chicos.com in the investor relations section under

Our Company



    Additional investor information on Chico's FAS, Inc. is available free

of charge on the Company's website at http://www.chicos.com in the investor

relations section under Our Company




Executive Contact: Robert C. Atkinson Vice President Investor Relations Chico's FAS, Inc. (239) 274-4199

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