Christopher & Banks Closes 100 Stores, Cuts Workforce

Christopher & Banks will close approximately 100 of its 761 stores by the end of January 2012, and accelerate plans to convert or consolidate a number of its existing Christopher & Banks and CJ Banks stores into dual format stores in a bid to return to profitable operations.

The specialty women's apparel retailer has posted net losses in four of the past five quarters. In Q2 2011, net sales of $96.2 million represented a 5% decrease from the same period the previous year, with comp store sales declining 8%.

Announcing the store closings, CEO Larry Barenbaum outlined the retailer's plans to reduce its operating costs even further. "As part of our go-forward real estate strategy, we intend to restructure overall occupancy costs at a majority of our remaining stores and to accelerate the conversion of a number of our existing stores to a dual store format, which offers missy, petite and plus sizes under one roof," Barenbaum said in a statement. "We anticipate that these initiatives will help us to both improve overall store productivity and support our return to profitability."

Late last month, Christopher & Banks cut its headquarters workforce by approximately 7% (excluding the distribution center) and reduced its store operations field management team by approximately 13%.

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