Vera Bradley to close 15 stores after posting a disappointing fourth quarter

Vera Bradley is the latest retailer to post a terrible fourth quarter. According to this Journal report, the company will be closing 15 stores over the next two years.

Vera Bradley Inc. will close or move up to 15 underperforming stores over the next two years as the company regroups from disappointing fourth-quarter and fiscal-year financial results, officials announced Wednesday.

The Fort Wayne company designs, makes and sells women’s handbags, luggage, accessories and home decor items.

In a statement, CEO Rob Wallstrom said the company’s five-year turnaround plan “is taking longer than we had originally planned, and the overall retail environment and accessories space are significantly more challenging than anticipated.”

Vera Bradley’s net revenues declined by 13 percent in the fourth quarter to $135 million as compared to the same 13 weeks of the prior year. Earnings for the same period plummeted by 78 percent to $3.45 million.

For the fiscal year, which ended Jan. 28, net revenues declined by 3 percent to $486 million. Earnings were $19.8 million, or 53 cents per diluted share, a 28 percent decline from the $27.6 million, or 71 cents a share, posted for fiscal 2016.

Although the company’s profits declined, they are still profits. And Vera Bradley ended its fiscal year with cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments totaling $117 million. The company founded 35 years ago by friends Barbara Bradley Baekgaard and Patricia Miller doesn’t carry any debt.

Wallstrom, the CEO, described the company as solid financially.