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Saks comps up slightly in Q4, focused on omnichannel efforts

NEW YORK — Saks reported that sales for the fourth quarter were up 5.6% over the same period last year. Same-store sales were up 0.7% for the period.

For the fourth quarter Saks recorded net income of $20.4 million, or 13 cents per diluted share, compared with net income of $37 million, or 21 cents per diluted share for the same period last year.

Stephen  Sadove, chairman and CEO of the company, noted, “We posted a 0.7% comparable store sales gain in the fourth quarter, essentially in line with our expectation of relatively flat comparable store sales. This modest gain was on top of a very solid 7.7% comparable store sales increase in the fourth quarter of 2011. As previously disclosed, our fourth quarter sales were negatively impacted by Hurricane Sandy which caused significant disruption to our very important Northeastern markets and to saks.com."

Sadove also commented on the strides the company made during the year.

Sadove noted, “Even though 2012 was a challenging year, it was also a year of meaningful progress and transformation for Saks. We continued to execute our core merchandising, service, and marketing strategies while building critically important omni-channel capabilities to position us for the future. We made headway on several important initiatives:

We began work on Project Evolution, our substantial multi-year transformation of and investment in our information technology systems to facilitate an omni-channel shopping environment for our customers.

We began expanding the omni-channel experience for our customers by adding iPads to our stores, testing ‘buy online, ship from store,’ and adding select ‘store only’ inventory items to our saks.com offerings.

On the marketing front, we began using enhanced consumer analytics and insights to drive marketing effectiveness through targeted and personalized initiatives. In January, we relaunched our SaksFirst loyalty program, expanding the benefits and eliminating the spending threshold to participate in the program.

We made meaningful year-over-year improvements in our in-store customer service scores and continued to receive high marks for our online service.”

For the fiscal year, the company expects comps to grow in the 3% to 5% range.