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A Mother of a Month

Mothers Work reports same-store sales declines for September, 4Q



Mothers Work Inc. (Philadelphia) has announced a net sales gain of 7.2 percent for the month of September 2003, but same-store sales decreased 4.7 percent.

Net sales increased 10 percent for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2003, ended Sept. 30, 2003, and same-store sales decreased 1.4 percent.

During September, the maternity-wear retailer opened nine new locations and closed three, ending the month with 1006 units, compared to 909 at the end of September 2002. For the quarter, Mothers Work opened 39 new locations and closed five, including three iMaternity stores in connection with the consolidation of the acquired store chain.

“We are very disappointed with our sales performance for the month of September,” said president and coo Rebecca Matthias, “but we are encouraged by the strong sales results we have seen for the first week of October as we have experienced cooler and more typical fall weather in many regions of the United States.”

Matthias referred to an earlier company press release stating there was potential risk to its previous earnings guidance for the fourth quarter if business did not improve during September. “Unfortunately,” she said, “business did not improve in September, with the 4.7 percent comparable store sales decline in September exceeding the 1.7 percent comparable store sales decline in August. As a result, we now project fourth quarter diluted earnings per share in the range of $0.27 to $0.32 per share, a reduction from our previous fourth quarter diluted earnings per share guidance of between $0.45 and $0.50 per share.

“Looking forward,” she continued, “we are taking a cautious outlook in our financial projections for fiscal 2004 given our weak sales in August and September. For fiscal 2004, we are now targeting net sales of approximately $540 to $545 million, based on assumed flat comparable store sales performance and a plan to open approximately 100 new stores for the year, net of store closings.”


Mothers Work operates 1006 maternity locations, including 851 stores and 155 leased departments, predominantly under the trade names Motherhood Maternity, A Pea in the Pod, and Mimi Maternity.



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