Stein Mart’s January sales hit by severe weather

Despite severe weather that caused a 0.7% decrease in January sales, Stein Mart looks like it will report its seventh consecutive quarter of comparable-store sales increases when it closes the fourth quarter.

January sales were fueled by strong sales in linens, ladies' boutique and gifts, while jewelry, ladies' sportswear and men's performed lower than the chain. Geographically, January sales were strongest in Florida and the West, while most other areas experienced comparable sales declines due to winter storms combined with record cold weather.

"Our January sales were clearly impacted by the severe weather throughout most of the country. Factoring this out, our sales results for January were consistent with our performance through year-to-date December," said CEO Jay Stein.

The company said that fourth-quarter sales have increased 3.1% to $359.9 million from $368.63 million in the prior-year quarter. Stein Mart will report complete financial results for the fourth quarter Thursday, March 13.

The company operated 264 stores at the end of January this year compared to 263 stores last year.