Stage Stores Announces Off-price Conversion Plan; To Suspend Quarterly Dividend

( - Stage Stores, Inc. ( SSI ) reported comparable sales for the holiday period and also announced its strategy to convert approximately 220 additional department stores to Gordmans off-price stores by the middle of 2020.

The company plans to suspend its quarterly dividend and expects to spend approximately $35 million in capital in 2019.

On a shifted basis, for nine-week period ended January 5, 2019, Gordmans off-price stores comparable sales increased 2.4%, department stores comparable sales decreased 0.4%, and total company comparable sales increased 0.1%.

The company expects to have nearly 300 Gordmans stores, representing almost 50% of total sales volume, by the end of 2020. The company plans to convert approximately 70 stores in 2019, predominantly in the smaller, mid-western markets.

Stage Stores forecast fourth quarter EBITDA to be approximately $30 million, excluding the potential non-cash impairment charge related to the Peebles trade name.

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