Charlotte Russe Holdings, Inc. (CHIC) is a mall-based specialty apparel retailer, which carries both branded and private-label merchandise, targeting women in their teens and twenties. The retailer offers a broad assortment of fashionable merchandise. CHIC focuses on three main lifestyle presentations: casual clothing, wear-to-work clothing, and going-out clothing. The 440 Charlotte Russe stores offer fashionable, affordable apparel and accessories that have been tested and accepted by the marketplace, appealing to women who prefer established fashion trends. These stores are located predominantly in high-visibility, center court mall locations in spaces that average approximately 7,000 square feet. The stores are designed to create an environment that is exciting to shop and accentuates the fashion, breadth, and value of merchandise selection. Through fashion content, merchandise mix, store layout and design, and merchandise presentation, the company's stores project fashion attitudes that appeal to customers across all ages and socioeconomic boundaries, with a core emphasis on the fashion and lifestyle needs of young women.
Founded in 1975, the first Charlotte Russe store opened in Carlsbad, California, and over the next 20 years the brand grew to a 35-store chain in Southern California, achieving a stated $70M of annual sales.
Charlotte Russe was acquired by private equity investment firm, Saunders, Karp & Megrue along with Bernie Zeichner in September of 1996 and the company saw substantial growth in the following 2 years with an additional 29 new stores.
In 1998, Charlotte Russe opened a second line of stores focused on young women's contemporary fashion and accessories under the name "Rampage." At the beginning of Q4 FY2006, Rampage consisted of 64 stores, however, the Company moved to focus on the Charlotte Russe brand exclusively and subsequently sold the Rampage line.
|CHIC Revenue & Net Income|
Recent corporate releases show that having reached it's highest profit margin (net) in the past five years the Company experienced a larger than normal decline in overall profitability in FY2008 from 2007's 4.9% to 2008's 2.21%. Charlotte Russe attributes this decline to a few different sources, particularly the overall depression of the market.
Specifically, the Company identifies the following as probable causes for the profit decline: decreased consumer traffic caused by the current market, increased costs associated with rental and occupancy rates, decreased return on goods sold as a result of higher than average markdowns on products in stores.
Given recent sales trends and the standing budget and operating environment, CHIC is planning to continue expansion of the chain and has 20-25 new stores in mind for FY2009.
Charlotte Russe typically serves the same audience and competes with Deb Shops, Forever 21, H&M, and Wet Seal.