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Hudson's Bay Co. trims loss as sales rise 4.2% in 1Q

TORONTO — Hudson's Bay Co. said a strong uptick in retail sales north of the border, driven in part by e-commerce, helped the iconic Canadian retailer to significantly reduce its year-over-year loss for the first quarter of its fiscal year.

Sales for the 13 weeks ended May 4 were C$884 million, up 4.2% from the C$848.2 million reported for comparable period a year earlier.

Consolidate same-store sales grew 4% in the first quarter, or 3.2% on a constant currency basis.
Same store sales for its Hudson's Bay unit - which also includes Home Outfitters - were up 7.6% in the quarter, while same-store sales at Lord & Taylor, its U.S. department store operation, declined 1.4% on a U.S. dollar basis.

The company said sales at Hudson's Bay were driven by strong performance of men's apparel, ladies' shoes, cosmetics, handbags, accessories and certain home categories, the continued growth of e-commerce sales and its five Topshop/Topman stores.

Sales at Lord & Taylor were hurt by lower customer traffic due to unfavorable weather trends compared with the first quarter of 2012, officials said.

HBC said online sales rose 32.8% in the latest quarter, to C$31.1 million.

The net loss from continuing operations in the quarter was C$14.3 million or 12 cents per share, an improvement from a loss of C$23.3 million or 22 cents per share a year earlier.

"We are pleased with our first quarter performance," HBC Governor and CEO Richard Baker said in a statement. "Our strong sales growth can be attributed to several factors, including improvements in store productivity, increased e-commerce sales, and our partnership with Topshop/Topman."

HBC went public last November. The company operates a total of 207 stores, including 90 Hudson's Bay and 69 Home Outfitter locations in Canada and 48 Lord & Taylor locations in the northeastern United States.

Hudson's Bay continues to be one of Canada's largest furniture and mattress retailers.

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