March 26, 2014, 12:01 PM

Stores will play a bigger role in New York & Co.’s web future

New York & Co. grew e-commerce 8% last year and also is working on more plans to use its network of 507 stores in 43 states to drive e-commerce growth, CEO Gregory Scott told Wall Street analysts.

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Specialty apparel chain retailer New York & Co. had a decent year online but going forward the company will use its stores more to grow e-commerce, CEO Gregory Scott told Wall Street analysts on the company’s year-end earnings call.

Though he didn’t elaborate, New York & Co. Inc., No. 273 in the 2013 Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, in 2013 redesigned its e-commerce site. New York & Co. also is planning to use its network of 507 stores in 43 states to drive e-commerce growth, Scott told analysts.

Last year the company began equipping its store associates with web-enabled tablets and introduced an “Ask Us” program, which allows customers in the store to order an out-of-stock item from another store or place an immediate order online. In 2014 New York & Co. plans on introducing a buy online and ship to store program.

Along with new store-based programs and an updated web site, New York & Co. has ambitious plans to grow e-commerce, Scott said. “I do believe there’s probably continued opportunity as we go out further in the years,” Scott told analysts. “What we are continuing to see is our focus on e-commerce--our focus on our investments in digital technology are the smart investments for us in terms of return to our shareholders. And it's really important that we as a company continue to focus on the growth of e-commerce.”

For the year ended Feb. 1, New York & Co. reported:

  • The web accounted for 10% of all sales in 2013 compared with 9% in the prior year. Based on those numbers Internet Retailer estimates that e-commerce grew year over year 8.1% to $93.9 million from $86.9 million.
  • Total sales decreased 2.8% to $939.2 million from $966.4 million. The drop in sales includes a one-time charge of $4.3 million reflecting a change in reporting and the closing of some stores, the company says.
  • Comparable-store sales increased 1.1%.
  • Net income was $2.4 million compared with a net loss of $2.2 million in the prior year.

New York & Co. didn’t break out web numbers for the fourth quarter but did report:

  • Total sales decreased 7.1% to $271.0 million from $291.8 million.
  • Comparable-store sales increased 1.1%.
  • Net income increased 11.3% to $6.9 million from $6.2 million.

“Moving forward, we expect to see significant improvement in all of our e-commerce metrics,” Scott told analysts. “The new site truly reflects the new brand and its look and feel, simplified navigation, outfitting suggestions, and an easy one-page checkout process are just some of the features.”

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