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Christopher & Banks Corporation CBK
Q4 2011 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 04/14/2011

Operator: Good day, ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the Christopher & Banks Corporation Fiscal Fourth Quarter and Year-End Conference Call. Today's call is being recorded.

At this time, I'd like to turn the conference over to Jean Fontana of ICR. Please go ahead.

Jean Fontana - SVP, ICR: Thank you. Good afternoon and thank you for joining us to discuss Christopher & Banks' fiscal fourth quarter and year-end 2011 results. Joining us on the call today are Larry Barenbaum, President and Chief Executive Officer; Mike Lyftogt, SVP and Chief Financial Officer; and Monica Dahl, Senior Vice President of Planning and Allocation and e-Commerce. After management has made their formal remarks, we will open up the call to questions and answers.

Before we begin, I would like to remind you that certain statements to be made during today's call are forward-looking statements. These are based on assumptions and expectations of future events which may not prove to be accurate. These statements also involve substantial risks and uncertainties. The Company's actual results may differ materially from expected or implied.

These forward-looking statements may be identified by such terms as will, expect, believe, anticipate, estimated and similar terms or variation. All of the Company's outlook and financial expectations as well as the assumptions underlying this information or statements constitute forward-looking statements constitute forward-looking statements. They are directed to the cautionary statement included in the Company's earnings release issued today as well as the most recent Form 10-K and other SEC filings (may exist at) date of that report, all of which are available under the Investor Relations section of the Company's website at www.christopherandbanks.com and applicable to the statements made today during this conference call.

I would now like to turn the call over to Larry Barenbaum.

Larry C. Barenbaum - President and CEO: Thank you, Jean and welcome to the Christopher & Banks fourth quarter and full year 2011 earnings conference call. With me today are Mike Lyftogt, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; Monica Dahl, Senior Vice President of e-Commerce, Planning & Allocations, and Strategy.

Since becoming CEO and President, my commitment and focus continues to be on returning the Company to profitability. This means, improving our merchandise assortments, driving more traffic to the stores, and improving our customers' shopping experience, as well as prudently managing our costs and investments in the business. Fiscal 2012 will be a year of transition as we implement these initiatives.

Briefly, reviewing fiscal 2011, our fourth quarter results were clearly disappointing. As we have spoken about previously, we entered the quarter with a product assortment that did not yet reflect our new merchandise strategy and did not resonate with our customers.

We reacted by aggressively taking markdowns to compel over purchasing and to clear our inventory. As a result, our holiday assortments were off the floor six week sooner than last year. Consequently, average store inventory was up only 4% per store in the fourth quarter as compared to our original expectation of an increase in the low teens.

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