For the first time in two years, Lands’ End is reporting a quarterly profit. And investors have responded, giving the stock of the publicly traded, Dodgeville clothing retailer a nudge up.
Lands’ End earned $162,000, or 1 cent per share, in the third quarter that ended Oct. 27, compared with a net loss of $7.2 million, or 23 cents a share for the same period last year.
Sales in the third quarter were $325.5 million compared with $311.5 million a year ago.
It is Lands’ End’s first profit since the third quarter of 2015, and the second consecutive quarterly increase in sales, which had been dropping since the second quarter of 2014, shortly after the company split from former parent Sears Holdings Corp.
“We’ve stabilized the business and laid the foundation for years to come,” CEO Jerome Griffith told a conference call with analysts on Tuesday.
Griffith said outerwear, women’s sweaters and home products were among the items that proved popular with customers, and he said sales of flannel shirts and turtlenecks were “phenomenal.”
Noting the 19-degree temperature in Madison that morning with the chill moving toward the East Coast, Griffith said, “We feel great” about sales prospects for the company’s cold weather gear.
Sales from online orders rose while store sales slipped, as the number of Lands’ End shops in Sears has dropped to 188, down 31 from a year ago, said Jim Gooch, chief financial officer and chief operating officer. He said 49 Sears contracts expire in January, and Lands’ End plans to close 14 of the locations and try to work out better terms for the remaining stores.
Griffith said Lands’ End will open the first new store of its own in the first half of 2018, and “a handful of locations throughout the year as we test our concept.”
He said the company will launch its uniforms for Delta Air Lines employees in January. Lands’ End also recently signed a two-year contract to provide apparel to on-air personnel at The Weather Channel when they are reporting from the scene of an event.
Griffith, who has served as CEO of a high-end luggage company and executive of the Esprit and Tommy Hilfiger fashion brands, joined Lands’ End in March.
Over the past several months, the company has made some additional high-level changes: Joseph Boitano, executive vice president and chief merchandising and design officer — and interim CEO before Griffith took over — left the company in July.
In November, the position of Rebecca Gebhardt, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, was eliminated. Also in November, two new executives were added. Gill Hong, formerly an executive adviser for Gap, is executive vice president, chief merchandising officer and head of international business, and Sarah Rasmussen returned to Lands’ End as senior vice president of e-commerce after serving as vice president for digital merchandising at Kohl’s.
Lands’ End stock, which closed Monday at $11.80 a share, rose 29 percent over the next couple of days following the earnings release, closing Thursday at $15.20 a share.