Financial Reports A-Plenty: Schein, OfficeMax, PC Connection, Blair, and More

Record Quarter for Schein
Melville, NY-based medical, dental, and veterinary supplier Henry Schein (NasdaqNM: HSIC) reported record increases in net sales and net income for the first quarter.

For the three months ended April 1, Schein netted $35.6 million, up 17% from the first quarter of 2005. Net sales rose 9%, to $1.16 billion. For the quarter, dental sales increased 10%, medical sales increased 7%, international sales jumped 10%, and technology and value-added services sales rose 9%.

OfficeMax Reports First-Quarter Loss
Itasca, IL-based cataloger/retailer OfficeMax (NYSE: OMX) reported a net loss of $25.1 million for the first quarter ended April 1. Results include a loss from discontinued operations and charges related to previously announced store closings and headquarters consolidation. The net loss for the first quarter of 2005 had been $5.3 million.

Revenue for the quarter was $2.42 billion, up from $2.32 billion the previous first quarter. Sales within the contract segment, which includes the catalog and Internet, increased 9.5%, to $1.23 billion, primarily due to this year’s first quarter being five days longer than last year’s. Excluding that difference, sales were virtually flat. Retail segment sales decreased 0.5%,to $1.19 billion, but the company had 73 fewer stores open at the end of this first quarter than it had 12 months prior.

Blair End First Quarter in the Red
First-quarter net sales at Warren, PA-based apparel and home decor merchant Blair Corp. (Amex: BL) fell 4.5%, to $102.7 million from $107.6 million last year. The company attributes the decrease to a “continuing softness in response rates to the traditional letter mailings channel of Blair’s direct marketing programs.” According to a statement, the company plans to counteract the situation by introducing a special catalog in the second half of this year, though it did not provide details about the new book.

The company also pointed to higher energy costs, which “reduced consumer discretionary income and hesitancy by our credit-reliant customers to purchase using the new Blair credit card.”

Increasing energy costs no doubt also contributed to Blair’s net loss of $4.8 million for the three months ended March 31. For the comparable quarter of last year, the company had posted net income of $650,000. Roughly $3.1 million of the loss, however, was due to Blair’s sale of its credit portfolio in November.

Blair’s e-commerce channel generated $26.5 million in net sales for the first quarter, up from $23.4 million last year. During the three-month period, Website traffic increased 20% over 2005 levels, and revenue resulting from investments in keyword searches doubled.

First-Quarter Sale, Income Up at PC Connection
First-quarter net sales at Merrimack, NH-based computer reseller PC Connection (Nasdaq: PCCC) increased 17.5%, or $56.6 million, to $380.5 million for the three months ended March 31. Approximately $27.3 million of the sales growth was attributed to the October 2005 acquisition of Amherst Technologies, a NH-based IT solutions provider.

First-quarter net income, meanwhile, nearly doubled, to $1.7 million, compared to $900,000 a year ago.

Direct Sales Hit the Right Note for Guitar Center
Westlake Village, CA-based cataloger/retailer Guitar Center (Nasdaq: GTRC) posted a 7% increase in first-quarter direct sales, which include revenue from the Musician’s Friend catalog. For the three months ended March 31, direct sales totaled $98.3 million. First-quarter consolidated net sales increased nearly 19%, to $470.7 million. Net income fell slightly, however, to $15.7 million from $15.9 million a year ago.

“At Musician’s Friend, sales were higher than anticipated, primarily reflecting growth in sales from the Internet and effective Web-based advertising strategies,” Erick Mason, executive vice president/chief financial officer, said in a statement.

Quarterly Sales Up, Income Flat for NBTY
Second-quarter net sales for Bohemia, NY-based supplements manufacturer/marketer NBTY (NYSE: NTY) increased 9%, to $482 million for the three months ended March 31. Net income was flat at $21 million.

The $39 million increase in sales includes $32 million from the company’s recent acquisitions: $26 million from Solgar, $3 million from LeNaturiste, and $3 million from SISU.

Revenue from direct response/Puritan’s Pride catalog/Internet business increased 7%, to $61 million. The average order size increased to $88 from $76. Online sales constitute 33% of total direct response/e-commerce sales.

Drugstore.com 1Q Sales Up 5%
First-quarter net sales for Bellevue, WA-based Drugstore.com (Nasdaq: DSCM) increased 5%, to $104.1 million for the three months ended April 2. That wasn’t enough to reduce the online merchant’s net loss, however: It posted a loss of $5.3 million, compared with $5.0 million for the first quarter of last year.

Direct Sales Up, Total Sales Down for Deckers Outdoor
Despite a 32% rise in consumer direct revenue, first-quarter net sales for Goleta, CA-based Deckers Outdoor Corp. fell 13%, to $56.0 million for the three months ended March 31. Net earnings for the footwear manufacturer/marketer tumbled 38%, to $5.6 million from $8.9 million a year ago. Deckers’ brands include Teva, Ugg, and Simple. “We are pleased with our strong start to the new fiscal year and our ability to exceed expectations for the first quarter,” CEO Angel Martinez said in a statement. Consumer direct sales were $6.5 million for the first quarter, up from $5 million last year.

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