Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Apparel retailer Express announced the closure on Wednesday of 100 of its 650 U.S. stores by 2022, with 31 slated to close this month.
A fixture in shopping malls, the company aims at the 20-29 age demographic. In a quarterly report Wednesday, Express said it expects a $90 million decline in revenue by the time the closures take effect, but it expects a sales boost through its online presence. The combination of reduced operating costs and the anticipated improvement in online sales should result in a "$15 million annualized increase in earnings," the report said.
CEO Tim Baxter said the expected improvement will not be a quick turnaround.
"Today we are unveiling our new corporate strategy, called The EXPRESSway Forward, and we are focused on profitable growth," Baxter said in a statement. "My expectation is that we will return to a mid-single-digit operating margin through a combination of low-single-digit comp sales growth, margin expansion and cost reductions. This will of course take some time, but we have a clear path."
The company's stock jumped 19.16 percent, to $4.95 per share, by Wednesday afternoon, after the report was released, after trading at up to $5.50 per share earlier in the day.
Express, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, employs about 18,000 people nationally. Stores in 14 states will close by March.