Though the corporation is not releasing what stores could close, Christopher & Banks announced its plan to close about 100 by the New Year.
, the specialty women's apparel retailer's Board of Directors reviewed results of in-depth analysis of the Company's store portfolio and authorized the closing of underperforming stores with most closing by January 2012.
According to a Company press release, it will also "seek to restructure the occupancy costs of a majority of its remaining stores, as part of its overall real estate strategy. In addition, the Company intends to accelerate its plans to convert or consolidate a number of its existing Christopher & Banks and CJ Banks stores into dual format stores."
Effective Oct. 28, the Company implemented a "workforce reduction" at its home office and with its field management organization. The workforce reduction impacted about 7 precent of the Company's corporate headquarters employees, excluding the distribution center, and approximately 13 precent of its store operations field management team.
"We have conducted an in-depth assessment of our store portfolio, which included an analysis of the portfolio by RCS Real Estate Advisors," said Larry Barenbaum, President and Chief Executive Officer. "Following that assessment, we have made the strategic decision to close approximately 100 stores. As part of our go-forward real estate strategy we also 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 miss, petite and plus sizes under one roof. We anticipate that these initiatives will help us to both improve overall store productivity and support our return to profitability."
Barenbaum also addressed the Company's labor force reductions in the press release.
"We thank the affected employees for their efforts and dedication," he said. "As we prepare for the next fiscal year we continue to evaluate our cost structure and capital expenditure requirements and we will remain focused on carefully managing expenses and inventories, as well as preserving our cash."
The Company is offering severanceto employees laid off. In connection with the workforce reduction, the Company anticipates a reduction in annual expenses of about $2.2 million.
Additional details regarding the impact of these decisions will be provided as part of the Company's next quarterly earnings release, which is currently scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 22.
Christopher & Banks stores are Apple Valley, Burnsville, Bloomington, Edina, Eden Prairie, Woodbury, Maple Grove, Roseville, Albertville, Oak Park Heights,