Financial reports: Aramark, Sharper Image, Neiman Marcus

Aramark Catalog Sales Down 3% for the Quarter

Managed services giant Aramark Corp. (NYSE: RMK), whose properties include the WearGuard and Gall’s catalogs, said its direct marketing division posted a 3% decline in fiscal first-quarter sales. For the three months ended Dec. 28, direct marketing sales were $129 million, down from $132 million for the comparable period of 2000. The Philadelphia-based company blames the decrease on weak demand for outerwear and other workwear, the core product of the WearGuard catalog, due to the mild winter. Sales of safety equipment, one of the mainstays of the Gall’s catalog, have increased since Sept. 11. Operating income rose 3%, to $10 million, led by the strong demand for safety products.

Aramark reported consolidated sales of $2.11 billion for the quarter, an 8% increase over $1.95 billion in sales for the previous fiscal first quarter. The company also reported net income of $51.4 million for the quarter, up 18% from $43.4 million a year earlier.

With the Razor Scooter Passe, Sharper Image Sales Dip San Francisco—The phenomenal sales of the Razor Scooter in 2000 has made 2001 sales at high-tech gadgets cataloger/retailer Sharper Image (Nasdaq: SHRP) pale in comparison.

For its fiscal fourth quarter, ended Jan. 31, sales were $161.2 million, down 5% from $170.3 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2000. Catalog sales decreased 10%, to $38.6 million from $43.0 million. Internet sales dropped 25%, to $20.5 million from last year’s $27.5 million. Comparable store sales decreased 9%.

On the bright side, total January sales increased 16%, to $24.7 million from $21.3 million. Catalog sales increased 41%, to $8.9 million from last January’s $6.3 million. Internet sales, however, decreased 6%, to $3.7 million from $4.0 million.

For the year, total company sales fell 6%, to $383.2 million from $405.9 million for fiscal 2000. Catalog sales increased 5%, to $101.3 million from $96.2 million, but Internet sales tumbled 17%, to $49.8 million from $60.2 million. Sharper Image is projecting earnings per share for the year of $0.07-$0.09.

Neiman Marcus Group Quarterly Sales Down 2% The Dallas-based Neiman Marcus Group (NYSE: NMG.A), whose NM Direct mails the Neiman Marcus, Horchow, and Chef’s Catalog titles, said total revenue for the quarter ended Jan. 26 was $907 million, down 2% from $924 million for the comparable quarter of the previous year. Quarterly revenue for Neiman Marcus Direct were down 4%.

“Our quarterly sales results were somewhat better than we had anticipated; however, these higher revenues were driven primarily by our end-of-season promotions,” presdient/CEO Burton M. Tansky said in a statement. The company expects earnings per share for the quarter of $0.45-$0.55.

Movies Unlimited Posts 4Q Sales Gains Philadelphia–Video cataloger Movies Unlimited reported a 45% gain in fourth-quarter Web sales and an overall 21% sales increase for the quarter. Although VHS tapes still make up more than 85% of Movies Unlimited’s sales, “DVDs are fast becoming a major part of our business,” president Jerry Frebowitz said in a statement, adding that he expects DVDs to account for 25%-30% by the end of 2002.

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