Annual Income Up at Blair

Though annual sales at apparel and home goods cataloger Blair Corp. (Amex: BL) declined 2%, the venerable marketer posted a whopping 105% bottom-line gain.

For 2002, Blair posted net income of $19.1 million on sales of $568.5 million. In 2001, the multititle mailer netted $9.3 million on $580.7 million in sales. Web sales generated $57 million in gross sales in 2002, compared with $35 million the previous year. Operating costs, which include advertising, general and administrative and interest expenses, decreased 7% in 2002. Cost of goods sold as a percentage of net sales decreased to 47.5% from 49.2% in 2001, which the Warren, PA-based company attributes to lower inventory liquidation costs and a decrease in the cost of procured merchandise.

Net sales for the fourth quarter increased 5%, to $167.9 million from $160.5 million the previous year. But fourth-quarter net income fell 16%, to $6.2 million from $7.4 million in 2001.