Fort Wayne-based Vera Bradley Inc. (Nasdaq: VRA) has announced a first-quarter net loss of $15.5 million, compared to a net loss of $2.4 million during the same period a year earlier. The company in mid-March closed its 147 retail and factory stores due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With its stores closed for about half of the financial reporting period, Vera Bradley saw revenues drop 48% from $71 million to nearly $37 million in Q1.
“It will take time for consumer confidence, customer traffic, and shopping activity to return to pre-pandemic levels, but I am confident the actions we have taken will allow us to manage through this challenge and position us to emerge a stronger company and thrive over the long term,” said Chief Executive Officer Rob Wallstrom.
During the shutdown, the designer handbag and fashion accessories manufacturer furloughed approximately 80% of its staff. Those who remained employed saw reductions in their salaries. The company says 65% remain on furlough as it reopens stores in a phased approach.
Wallstrom says its e-commerce sector has continued to operate. He says the 2019 acquisition of Pura Vida has resulted in online sales being a larger share of company revenues.
“And the digital skills of both companies will be even more critical in this new environment. We are moving ahead with the innovation that will enhance the consumer experience and propel us forward – innovation in product, marketing, and technology.”
Right now, 18 of 83 retail locations and 40 of 64 factory stores have reopened. Vera Bradley expects the remainder of the stores will be open by the end of June.
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