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Stein Mart comp-store sales rise

Stein Mart is preparing to launch its e-commerce business. The company expects the initiative to have a negative bottom line impact this year, in part, because of startup costs.

For the second quarter ended Aug. 3, however, the company is enjoying total sales of $291 million, up 3.8% from the prior-year quarter. Comparable store sales increased 6.4%. 

"Our second quarter same store sales increase of 6.4 percent was driven by our great merchandise, brands and pricing" said Jay Stein, CEO. "We've said for a long while that increases in sales and margin will leverage against our lean expense structure resulting in higher earnings growth. This is now happening."

The company’s gross profit for the quarter increased to $80.3 million from $73.8 million in 2012. The increase in the gross profit rate was primarily the result of lower markdowns and slightly higher markup.

Stein Mart operates 262 stores and plans to open four new stores, relocate two stores and close two stores during the second half of the year.