Coldwater Creek stock price tumbles 30 percent on downgrade, continued losses

newsroom@idahostatesman.comSeptember 11, 2013 

In the week before executives of Sandpoint-based retailer Coldwater Creek announced quarterly earnings, the price of a share had risen from $2.40 to $2.74. After the announcement, the price plummeted to $1.92 — a nearly 30 percent drop in a day, and Coldwater Creek's lowest closing price in more than a year.

Managers have said for several quarters that merchandise and operational changes are positioning the company to not just slow down its losses but reclaim the loyalty of higher-income female customers.

But Tuesday evening's report was another bit of bad news. The company lost $16.4 million during the three months ending Aug. 3 — slightly less severe than the $17.6 million loss the same time last year. That was a bigger hit than had been expected, and the firm Piper Jaffray reportedly downgraded the stock.

"Sales were lower than planned in the second quarter, largely due to a deceleration in traffic during the month of July," Coldwater Creek President and CEO Jill Dean said in a news release. "Our return to more consistent comparable store sales has been slower than expected; however, we know that customer engagement and driving traffic are critical to our long-term success, and two recent announcements represent progress against these objectives."

Those announcements were a newly hired chief marketing officer and a $25 million deal with a new credit card partner, Alliance Data Systems.

"We believe that these steps, combined with the extensive work we are continuing to do to align our merchandise assortment with our brand strategy, as well as our disciplined management of expenses and inventory, remain the right focus for our business," Dean said.

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