Bulls and Bears: B-to-B Coming on Strong

Ticker symbol Company Price as of 8/05/03 52-week high 52-week low % price change last month Revenue per share T4Q % total debt/total capital
DIRECT TO CONSUMER
FLWS 1-800-Flowers.com $9.07 $10.90 $4.75 11.1% $8.18 11.3%
BL Blair Corp. 21.68 25.45 18.25 1.5 71.69 6.1
CWTR Coldwater Creek 14.11 18.32 7.97 30.3 29.74 0.0
HNV Hanover Direct 0.23 0.35 0.16 (14.3) 3.26 45.8
JILL J. Jill Group 14.11 26.71 9.51 (15.9) 18.22 9.8
MBAY MediaBay 0.79 3.70 0.64 8.3 3.38 57.5
SPGLA Spiegel 0.05 1.20 0.05 (26.7) 22.53 466.8
DIRECT TO BUSINESS
BBOX Black Box Corp. $40.46 $51.39 $25.58 12.1% $29.07 13.9%
CDWC CDW Corp. 47.35 56.58 36.30 4.5 49.61 0.0
HSIC Henry Schein 59.32 59.75 34.17 11.3 64.82 22.5
MSM MSC Industrial Direct 19.75 20.23 9.30 12.6 12.27 0.3
NEB New England Business Service 28.75 32.00 19.99 (2.2) 41.39 52.4
PCCC PC Connection 9.17 10.82 3.72 35.6 50.96 4.2
MALL PC Mall 8.40 9.00 1.76 76.1 83.09 39.4
PFP Premier Farnell 7.40 7.80 4.25 4.8 7.84 74.9
SCHS School Specialty 26.25 30.97 17.02 (1.7) 40.08 52.1
SSPY Sport Supply Group 1.86 2.10 1.30 (0.5) 11.50 31.6
TESS Tessco Technologies 7.50 13.09 6.11 10.9 61.00 20.8
ZONS Zones 1.00 1.28 0.60 1.1 31.14 0.7
Sources StockVal, Bloomberg

Winners outnumbered losers by more than 2-1 in July, with 13 of the 19 publicly traded catalogers tracked posting higher stock prices than they had the previous month.

Ken Packer, managing partner of Waukee, IA-based Financial Advisory Partners, who tracks the stocks for Catalog Age, credits “slowly improving economic news regarding business spending and investment” for the gains among the business-to-business marketers.

PC Mall, for one, gained 76%, and fellow computer reseller PC Connection gained nearly 36%. While the share price of medical and dental supplier Henry Schein increased a less dramatic 11%, that boost brought it to within spitting distance of its 52-week high of $59.75 a share.

Three of the 12 b-to-b companies tracked saw their value slip. But none of them — New England Business Service, School Specialty, and Sport Supply Group — lost more than 3%.

Among the six consumer marketers tracked, however, the month was more contradictory. “The direct-to-consumer sector continues to struggle overall,” Packer says, “with market share gains and losses driving individual companies’ share prices.”

Women’s apparel cataloger/retailer Coldwater Creek, for instance, enjoyed a 30% lift in share price. But multititle mailer Spiegel, still mired in Chapter 11, lost nearly 27% of its value, ending at a 52-week low of $0.05 a share. Overall, the seven consumer stocks gained a median 2.7%, compared with the median 10.3% increase enjoyed by the b-to-b stocks.

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