Stage Stores Inc. and its subsidiary (“we,” “us” or “our”) is a retailer, which operates specialty department stores and off-price stores. We offer our customers, referred to as “guests,” trend-right, moderately priced, name-brand apparel, accessories, cosmetics, footwear and home goods. As of February 2, 2019, we operated in 42 states through 727 department stores under the BEALLS, GOODY’S, PALAIS ROYAL, PEEBLES and STAGE nameplates and 68 GORDMANS off-price stores. We also operate an e-commerce website for our department store business. Our department stores are predominantly located in small towns and rural communities. Our off-price stores are predominantly located in mid-sized, non-rural Midwest markets.
Our 2019 strategy is to grow our off-price stores, emphasize trending merchandise such as home goods, drive sales through pre-conversion promotions associated with our transition to off-price, and exit underperforming department stores. These initiatives, along with the strong performances of our home and women’s categories, contributed to the 17.4% increase in comparable sales for the third quarter 2019. Based on the sales trend for the year-to-date 2019, we expect to generate positive comparable sales for the fourth quarter.
In October 2019, we launched Amazon Hub Counter (“Counter”) pick-up points in our off-price and department stores. With Counter, Amazon shoppers have the option to pick up their Amazon packages at our stores. Counter is currently available over 700 of our stores. While it is still too early to determine the impact of the program on our sales, we expect Counter to bring in additional traffic to our stores.