September 6, 2011, 5:31 PM

Coldwater Creek throws cold water on expanding lots of stores

To cut costs, Coldwater Creek will close up to 45 stores in the next year.

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Sales are down across the board for women’s apparel retailer Coldwater Creek Inc. in the second quarter and for the year to date.

 As a result, Coldwater Creek, No. 93 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, is implementing a new long-term strategic plan that includes closing more underperforming stores.

 For the second quarter ended July 30, Coldwater Creek reported:

  • Direct sales declined year over year 32.5% to $39.2 million from $58.1 million. Coldwater Creek, which doesn’t break out web sales, recorded direct sales in the first two quarters of $83.7 million, a decrease of 33.1% from $125.1 million in the prior year.
  • Total sales declined 28.4% to $181.4 million from $253.5 million. Year-to-date total sales declined 27.3% to $361.2 million from $496.6 million in the first two quarters of 2010.
  • Retail sales declined 27.2% to $142.2 million from $195.4 million in the second quarter of 2010. Year-to-date retail sales decreased 25.3% to $277.5 million from $371.4 million.
  • Net loss was $27.7 million for the second quarter compared with net income of $1.5 million in the second quarter of 2010. Year-to-date net loss was $57.7 million compared with net income of $3.8 million in the first two quarters of 2010.

As part of a new turnaround plan, Coldwater Creek in the next 12 months will close up to 45 underperforming stores while opening about three new locations. Coldwater Creek expects to save up to $20 million in annual operating costs as a result of closing poorly performing stores, says CEO Dennis Pence.

As part of a new growth strategy, Coldwater Creek also plans to increase its marketing and advertising with a new branding campaign, which includes online media, TV and radio ads, and direct marketing. The retailer has yet to release any details.

“These actions, combined with our plan to close 35-45 underperforming stores, will allow us to more rapidly return our business to profitability,” says Pence.

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