Orchard Supply Hardware posts Q3 sales decline

As its retail transformation continues, San Jose, Calif.-based Orchard Supply Hardware posted a net loss amid sales declines in the third quarter. 

For the period ended Oct. 27, the company saw net sales of $155.2 million, down 2.2% compared with $158.7 million in the prior-year period. Comparable-store sales for the quarter were essentially flat, decreasing 0.1%.

Net loss in the third quarter of fiscal 2012 was $53.6 million compared with a net loss of $10.1 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2011.

Mark Baker, president and CEO, described the transformation of the retail company in a prepared statement: “At the beginning of fiscal 2012, we outlined five strategic priorities, which included our plans to transform Orchard’s store portfolio to our productive new neighborhood format. Thus far in 2012, we opened two new stores and remodeled four existing locations, three of which were completed during the third quarter, and we’re seeing increased customer traffic and engagement at those locations. While comparable store sales were flat in the third quarter, the combination of stronger sales of seasonal merchandise and contributions from the newly remodeled stores drove an improvement in comp store trends throughout the period. However, our margins were pressured as we increased our promotional activity to help drive traffic and sales.”

By the end of fiscal 2012, the company expects to have opened a total of two new stores and remodeled five existing Orchard locations. During the third quarter, the retailer opened one new store and completed three remodels. As of Oct. 27, 2012, the company had eight stores operating in its new neighborhood store format and anticipates having 10 stores by the end of fiscal 2012. 

Next year, Orchard expects to open at least four new stores and remodel at least six existing locations and expects to have approximately 20 stores in the new format, representing more than 20% of the portfolio, by fiscal year-end. 

"This is only one part of our plan to reposition the company and the Orchard brand," said Baker. "We are also focused on strengthening our financial position and driving improvement in other key areas of the business, including merchandising, marketing and store operations, which we believe will provide the foundation for improved sales and profitability over the long term.” 

Net loss in the 2012 quarterly period includes $65.1 million of non-cash charges comprised of $60.3 mill