Aritzia optimistic about future but endures new round of store closures

VANCOUVER — Aritzia Inc. remains optimistic about the future despite enduring forced store closures over the busy holiday season that are increasing.

"Looking beyond this pandemic, we're well-positioned for meaningful growth, capitalizing on the unprecedented opportunities ahead," founder, chairman and CEO Brian Hill said Wednesday in a conference call.

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The Vancouver-based company has seen its e-commerce revenues surge 78 per cent in its latest quarter from a year ago while overall net revenue increased about four per cent.

The Vancouver-based apparel company says its net income decreased 12.3 per cent to $30.5 million in the third quarter, down from $34.8 million a year earlier.

That equalled 28 cents per share, down from 32 cents per share in the prior year quarter.

Analysts had expected Aritzia to report earnings of 23 cents per share, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.

Aritzia's net revenue for the three months ended Nov. 29 increased to $278.3 million in the quarter, up from $267.3 million.

Aritzia has been hit hard by the pandemic because many of its stores in COVID-19 hot spots have been forced to close for prolonged periods and the company has had to refocus on online sales.

The company was forced to close 18 stores in the heart of Toronto, just five days before Black Friday, at the end of the quarter and ahead of Christmas.

"Unfortunately, this meant these boutiques were closed during our busiest week of the year," Hill told analysts.

Aritzia said it won't provide guidance for the fourth quarter because of uncertainty about the operating environment.

The resurgence of COVID-19 has forced it to temporarily reclose 39 stores in Ontario and Quebec so far in the fourth quarter.

"We are working closely with our landlords for further rent abatements in light of the current closures, recognizing this is a difficult time for both parties," Hill added.

"There's no playbook for managing through a global pandemic, and the last few months are proving yet again the virus' unpredictability."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 13, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:ATZ)

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