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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Aug. 14, 201412:00 PM EST

Body Central cancels HQ move

by: Mark Basch Contributing Writer

With losses continuing to pile up, Body Central Corp. has canceled plans to relocate its headquarters and distribution center to a 400,000-square-foot facility at One Imeson Center in North Jacksonville.

The fashion retailer, which remains headquartered in a 179,000-square-foot facility at 6225 Powers Ave. on the Southside, was supposed to move into the One Imeson facility this year.

However, the company said in March it was postponing the move because it couldn’t afford the additional expenses of the larger facility.

At the time, Body Central officials said they still intended to move to One Imeson in 2015.

The City Council last year approved $1.39 million in city and state incentives to assist the company’s move.

However, in its quarterly report filed Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Body Central disclosed that it has “terminated its plans to move to the corporate headquarters and distribution center at the One Imeson location.”

The report said Body Central has a lease with One Imeson’s owner that runs through August 2021, and it has a lease payment obligation of $6.4 million. The company “is currently exploring alternatives to reduce, mitigate or terminate this obligation,” it said.

Richard Walters, Body Central’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, did not respond Thursday to phone and email messages about that decision.

The SEC filing showed that Body Central had a net loss of $21 million in the second quarter, its fifth straight quarterly loss.

Total sales fell 24.8 percent to $56.5 million and comparable-store sales — sales at stores open for more than one year — fell 22.6 percent.

Body Central has closed 19 stores so far this year, leaving it with 275, and it plans to close five more before the end of the year.

The company, which targets teenagers and young adult women, has seen its sales plummet over the past two years. The second-quarter report said the comparable-store sales drop resulted from “the company’s failure to adequately anticipate its target customers’ preference and demand levels.”

The recent losses have raised questions about Body Central’s future, but the company in June received $18 million from a group of investors. The company said in its second-quarter report that it believes it has enough cash to meet its obligations through June 2015.

Body Central’s stock, which traded above $30 in 2012 before sales declines sent the stock down, has been trading below $1 since March. It was delisted from the Nasdaq market and now trades in the OTC Pink Marketplace.

The stock has been trading near the 40-cent level for the past week and hit a new low of 37 cents Thursday.

Body Central filed plans last month for a 1-for-10 reverse stock split that would reduce the number of shares outstanding and lift the trading price of the stock.

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