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MINNEAPOLIS-Same-store sales at women’s apparel retailer Christopher & Banks fell 2% year over year during the company’s second quarter, which ended Nov. 26. However, the clothier’s net income jumped 14%, to $8.7 million, and net sales rose 8%, to $130.5 million.

The same-store sales drop was due to a decrease in the number of transactions, which fell 6% from the same year-ago period. Executives predict that the company will turn in a flat-to-2% performance during this month’s sales period.

One-to-two store closings are predicted for the rest of the fiscal year, and no new stores are in the works during the fourth quarter. For next year, executives forecast increasing the 504-store namesake chain, which targets women ages 40 to 60, by 35 to 40 units. C.J. Banks, a 179-store chain that caters to sizes 14 and up, will open 40 to 45 locations. Acorn, a concept with 24 stores that the company acquired last year, is adding 10 to 15 units.

Meanwhile, company officials are fine-tuning the chains’ merchandise to focus more missy-oriented fashion trends. But Christopher & Banks is not changing the age groups it targets, stressed Joe Pennington, the company’s chief executive officer, stressed in a conference call.

The shift will help the retailer better compete with discounters like Kohl’s, he says. “By returning to a more unique fashion assortment, it certainly opens up the ground between us,” Pennington said.

Executives predict Q4 earnings per share to fall in the 14 cents- to 15 cents-range compared to 11 centers in last year’s fourth quarter. They anticipate a $1.4-million charge that will go toward contract payments to Bill Prange, the company’s former chairman and chief executive officer who resigned earlier this month.

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