Le Chateau to shut 14 stores this year, more closures to come

Montreal-based Le Chateau plans to close 14 stores this year and even more in the years ahead as the fashion chain "recalibrates" its brand amid a changing retail environment.

The clothier, which sells both men's and women's garments and accessories, made the announcement in its fourth-quarter results, which include the period up to the end of January.

Sales decreased by 5.3 per cent to $236.9 million last year, the chain said. But both the length of the fiscal year and the number of stores were different compared to the same period in 2014, so a closely watched retail metric known as "same store sales" is a better comparison.

By that metric, sales declined 1.9 per cent last year.

A bright spot was the chain's beefed up online shopping offerings, where sales rose 34.8 per cent during the year.

The company plans to focus more on that growing part of the business moving forward, while it closes underperforming stores.

As of the end of January, the company had 211 stores across the country, down by 11 compared to a year earlier.

As well as the 14 stores expected to be shut this year, roughly 40 will be shuttered within the next three years, Le Chateau said.

"Our strategy is to continue to recalibrate our retail network and close underperforming stores," the chain said in a release Monday. "Overall, we remain optimistic about the opportunity to grow our business and improve our margins."

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