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Acorn chain fails to blossom

US womenswear group Christopher & Banks is axing its Acorn chain after continued poor performance.

The group, which also runs the Christopher & Banks chain and plus-size retailer CJ Banks, will close 36 Acorn stores across 14 states, with a loss of 280 jobs.

The company said Acorn had not demonstrated potential in delivering long-term returns and the group will concentrate on its other two chains and new growth opportunities.

Chief executive Lorna Nagler said: “With only 36 stores and an operating loss of more than US$4 million (£2m) in 2008 and a charge of more than US$10m (£5.08m) for long-lived asset and goodwill impairment, our board and senior management concluded further investment would not be in the best interests of the company and its shareholders.”
The company anticipated that pre-tax expenses associated with closing the chain would be between US$7m (£3.5m) and US$10m (£5.08m).

The Christopher & Banks group operates 849 stores in 46 states. Total sales for the quarter ended May 31 were US$159.6m (£81.1m) against US$149.4m (£75.9m) for the same period in the year before. The group’s net income was US$11.3m (£5.8m), compared with US$11.7m (£5.95m) in 2007.

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