That decline is larger than the multichannel retailer’s overall 5.8% sales decline.

Express Inc. had a disappointing second quarter in which online sales fell 6.5% and its overall sales dipped 5.8%, the retailer reported today. The results are in line with the apparel retailer’s first quarter results in which its store sales outpaced its e-commerce results.

David Kornberg, the retailer’s president and CEO, pegged the sales drop to declining traffic to its stores, as well as what he termed a “lack of clarity across our assortment,” that is, too wide an assortment. 

While noting he was “disappointed” with the results, Kornberg told analysts Express will regain momentum with a better fall collection aimed at its core customer base. “In an effort to acquire younger customers to our brand, we expanded our merchandizing reach and shifted our marketing projection,” he said. “While our fashion attracted more customers at the lower end of our target demographic age group, this was more than offset by a decline at the upper end. We’ve corrected this balance and believe our assortment and marketing will appropriately reflect our target demographic as we move further into fall.”

That means boosting the retailer’s marketing efforts that target its core customer base both online and in stores. For example, the retailer plans to be more strategic in its email marketing messages by sending more personalized, targeted emails based on consumers’ preferences. 

Express also plans to increase its focus on e-commerce by improving its site. For example, it recently began showing shoppers who conduct a search on its site images of recommended products, which Kornberg said has increased the site’s conversion rate. “To reach new and existing customers we are continuing to evolve our e-commerce and digital capabilities and are encouraged by the positive changing trend that we’ve seen in this channel in recent weeks,” he said. 


For the fiscal second quarter ended July 30, Express, No. 99 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, reported:

  • E-commerce sales declined 6.5% to $70.1 million from $75.0 million in the year-ago quarter.
  • Total sales fell 5.8% to $ 504.8 million from $535.6 million.
  • Comparable-store sales, including e-commerce, fell 8%.
  • Net income was $10.1 million, down 52.0% from $21.0 million.
  • E-commerce represented 13.9% of total sales versus 14.0%.  

For the first half of the fiscal year, Express reported:

  • E-commerce sales down 3.6% to $147.1 million from $152.6 million in the year-ago quarter.
  • Total sales down 2.9% to $1.008 billion from $1.038 billion.
  • Net income was $23.0 million, down 32.6% from $34.1 million.
  • E-commerce represented 14.6% of total sales versus 14.7%.