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Natchez Goody’s closing Jan. 18, 2020

NATCHEZ — Goody’s department store in the Natchez Mall will close Jan. 18, 2020, the store’s manager said Thursday.

“It was a corporate decision,” said Blaine Davis, store manager of the Natchez Goody’s. “It is planned for Jan. 18 to be our last business day.”

Davis said the corporate office told his store a couple of weeks ago about the decision to close the store that has been in Natchez Mall location since 1995, first as a Stage store, which is owned by the same company and later rebranded as a Goody’s in 2008.

The Natchez Goody’s employees hung a banner in front of the store’s entryway Thursday morning that reads “Store Closing Sale.”

Davis said the store has had similar signs hanging inside the store for approximately a week now but just got the sign outside on Thursday.

Davis, originally from Natchez, said he has worked at the Natchez Goody’s location for the past 14 years but has been with the company for 24 years, having worked with the company in Morgan City, Louisiana, for 10 years before returning to Natchez.

Davis said the Natchez Goody’s currently has eight employees and most of them would be looking for other jobs, since Goody’s does not have any other locations nearby to which they could transfer.

Davis said he hopes to stay with Goody’s until the final day of business, but he could not say for sure he would be.

Goody’s corporate communications did not immediately return messages seeking comment on this story Thursday afternoon.

However, a March 7 fourth quarter results for fiscal 2019 guidance report showed losses for the Houston-based Stage Stores Inc., which owns Goody’s and other brands.

“For the fourth quarter,” the report states, “total company comparable sales decreased 2.4 percent. Shifted comparable sales, comparing the 13 weeks ended February 2, 2019 and February 3, 2018, increased 0.6 percent. Net loss, including $14.9 million of non-cash tradename impairment, was $7.8 million and fourth quarter EBITDA adjusted for impairments was $27.1 million.”

Michael Glazer, Stage Stores, Inc.’s chief executive officer, mention store closings in the March 7 report due to shifting sales trends, including online shopping.

“… In addition to comparable sales growth, our efforts to close 40 to 60 underperforming stores, drive gross margin improvement, and enhance the profitability of our existing off-price stores are expected to deliver an EBITDA of $10 million to $15 million in 2019,” said Michael Glazer, chief executive officer in the March 7 financial report. “Capital spend will be between $30 and $35 million, in line with 2018, and meaningful inventory reductions associated with closing and converting stores will result in positive cash flow for the year. We are very excited about the future, including converting 150 more department stores to off-price by the middle of 2020. As a result, by the end of 2020, off-price sales will represent approximately 50% of our sales volume.”

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