Reitmans reports sales drop for the five weeks that covered holiday period

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MONTREAL - Reitmans is reporting a drop in sales for the five weeks spanning the holiday shopping period.

The Montreal-based women's clothing retailer (TSX:RET.A) said Wednesday that sales were down 5.4 per cent for the five weeks ended Dec. 29, while same-store sales — an important retail metric — were down 3.4 per cent.

For the fourth quarter to date, sales were down five per cent while same store sales declined 2.4 per cent.

The retailer said it opened nine new stores and closed one since late October.

In November, Reitmans reported it earned $38,000 in the third quarter, down from $10.6 million a year ago, as sales were hurt by a problem in shipping products to stores.

It said the profit amounted to break-even on a per-share basis for the quarter ended Oct. 27 compared with a profit of 16 cents per share a year ago.

The company said at the time it expected sales may continue to be affected in the fourth quarter, which ends Feb. 2.

As of Dec. 29, Reitmans (Canada) Ltd. had 931 stores — 362 Reitmans, 151 Smart Set, 73 RW & CO., 74 Thyme Maternity, 158 Penningtons and 113 Addition Elle.

That compares to 975 stores last year.

The company adds that it has 20 Thyme Maternity boutiques in select Babies "R" Us locations in Canada and 146 in the United States.

Reitmans shares closed up 3.73 per cent, or 45 cents, to $12.50 Wednesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Organizations: Reitmans (Canada) Ltd., TSX, Toronto Stock Exchange

Geographic location: MONTREAL, Canada, United States

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