Bulls and Bears: Ending the Year with a Whimper

Ticker symbol Company Price as of 1/2/04 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 $10.99 $12.14 $5.61 (5.8%) $8.49 8.3%
BL Blair Corp. 24.03 25.83 20.10 (2.6) 72.47 6.1
CWTR Coldwater Creek 11.51 15.13 5.70 (22.8) 17.85 0
HNV Hanover Direct 0.22 0.34 0.17 (8.3) 3.13 45.8
JILL J. Jill Group 12.76 19.54 9.51 (0.2) 18.49 9.8
MBAY MediaBay 1.10 1.65 0.60 (16.0) 3.08 57.5
SPGLQ Spiegel 0.05 0.71 0.03 (31.3) 21.85 466.8
DIRECT TO CONSUMER
BBOX Black Box Corp. $46.43 $51.16 $25.58 5.2% $27.97 9.3%
CDWC CDW Corp. 58.86 63.65 36.30 (3.2) 50.68 0
HSIC Henry Schein 66.76 70.00 34.17 0.2 70.26 22.5
MSM MSC Industrial Direct 27.56 28.19 15.65 4.4 12.44 0.3
NEB New England Business Service 29.76 32.00 20.70 (1.7) 43.96 51.2
PCCC PC Connection 8.39 13.47 4.69 (6.0) 49.58 4.2
MALL PC Mall 16.72 17.00 2.88 21.4 82.18 39.4
PFP Premier Farnell 8.26 9.55 4.25 (7.8) 7.08 97.5
SCHS School Specialty 33.45 34.79 17.02 17.4 40.59 47.8
SSPY Sport Supply Group 1.97 2.20 1.45 8.1 11.39 38.7
TESS Tessco Technologies 14.15 15.61 6.11 (6.3) 63.92 10.1
ZONS Zones 1.63 1.82 0.60 36.0 31.88 0.7
Sources: StockVal, Bloomberg

Consumers may have been shelling out on holiday gifts in December, but they weren’t spending big on consumer catalog stocks. All seven of the publicly traded consumer marketers tracked for Catalog Age by Financial Advisory Partners lost value in December. In comparison, only five of the 12 business-to-business catalogers tracked, or 42%, saw their stock prices decline.

“Direct-to-consumer stocks were up nicely over the past quarter,” notes Ken Packer, managing partner at Des Moines, IA-based Financial Advisory Partners, “but down during the month due to early concerns that retail might not be as strong going forward as previously thought.” On the other hand, the b-to-b companies benefited from a 17% rise in business spending during the quarter, Packer says.

The biggest gainer, computer reseller PC Mall, benefited from reporting record third-quarter revenue and a 24% increase in corporate sales for the quarter. The Torrance, CA-based company also announced in late October the launch of the OnSale.com auction site.

School Specialty, the second greatest gainer, also announced record quarterly sales. And in a press release, its spresident/CEO David Vander Zanden projected increased spending among elementary, middle, and high schools — good news for the Greenville, WI-based multititle mailer of school furnishings and supplies.

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