E-commerce accounted for 20.9% of Express’s overall sales.

A nearly 27% jump in Express Inc.’s fiscal first quarter e-commerce sales gave the retailer reason for optimism despite its overall sales falling roughly 7% compared to the previous year. Its comparable store sales, which includes e-commerce, declined 10% in the quarter.

“As we look to the balance of the year, we are increasingly optimistic about our ability to drive improved performance,” says David Kornberg, CEO of Express, No. 102 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 1000. “We are excited about our summer and fall assortments and expect continued sales momentum in our e-commerce business, along with sequential improvement in stores. Our work on customer loyalty is showing meaningful progress with improving customer acquisition trends, and our omnichannel initiatives are on track with the successful pilot of ship from store.”

The retailer last month announced it was closing all 17 of its Canadian store locations as part of a broader push to focus on growing its online business.

For the fiscal first quarter ended April 29, Express reported:

  • E-commerce sales rose 26.8% to $97.6 million from $77.0 million in the year-ago quarter.
  • Total sales fell 7.1% to $467.0 million from $502.9 million.
  • Comparable-store sales, including e-commerce, fell 10%.
  • Net loss of $4.5 million compared to a $12.9 million gain. The retailer’s exit from the Canadian market contributed to the loss.
  • E-commerce represented 20.9% of total sales versus 15.3% last year.