Financial reports: Black Box, Penney, Systemax, Hanover, more

Black Box ends year with sales, income declines

When commenting on the financials of Black Box (NASDAQ: BBOX) for the quarter and year ended March 3, CEO Fred C. Young said in a statement, “No doubt, fiscal year 2002 was a challenging year. The rapid pace of the economic downturn was a stress test we believe we successfully passed.” Nonetheless, sales and earnings were down at the networking products and services suppliers.

For the fourth quarter, net income fell 11%, to $15.2 million from $17.1 million the previous year. Revenue for the quarter slipped 29%, to $160 million from $225 million last year. The Pittsburgh-based Black Box recorded a pretax charge of $3.5 million during the fourth quarter related to staffing level adjustments for its European and Latin American operations as well as to real estate consolidations in the U.S.

Revenue for the year decreased 10%, to $744 million from $827 million the previous year. Net income for the year fell 3%, to $62.0 million from $64.2 million.

Penney’s 1Q something to brag about Plano, TX-based J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP) has reason to strut: It more than doubled its first-quarter profits.

For the three months ended April 27, Penney’s net income was $86 million, up 110% from $41 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2001. Total sales increased 3%, to $7.73 billion from $7.52 billion. But excluding sales from the company’s Eckerd drugstore chain, revenue decreased 1%, to $4.01 billion from $4.1 billion. Catalog sales fell 25%, which Penney says was in line with projections.

Systemax 1Q sales, income up by single digits Port Washington, NY-based Systemax (NYSE: SYX) saw first-quarter profit rise 6% on a 2% increase in sales. For the three months ended March 31, the computer and industrial supplies manufacturer/marketer posted net income of $585,000 on net sales of $412.3 million. For the first quarter of 2001, net income was $363,000 on sales of $405.9 million. This marks the cataloger’s third consecutive quarter in the black.

Hanover shaves 5.8 million off 1Q net loss Multititle mailer Hanover Direct (Amex: HNV) lopped its first-quarter net loss to $1.8 million for the three months ended March 30. That’s a vast improvement from the net loss of $7.6 million it suffered during the first quarter of 2001. What’s more, Hanover posted positive EBITDA of $1.4 million for the quarter, compared with its negative EBITDA of $3.0 million a year ago.

The bottom-line improvement came despite a decline in revenue, to $109.5 million from $144.3 million a year ago. The discontinuance of the Domestications Kitchen & Garden, Turiya, and Kitchen & Home titles accounted for $4.6 million of the sales shortfall. The rest resulted from circulation decreases and declining demand among some of Hanover’s titles. The company’s catalogs include men’s apparel book International Male, specialty-size women’s apparel catalog Silhouettes, and home accessories and beddings titles The Company Store and Domestications.

Modest 1Q growth for Tiffany New York-based cataloger/retailer Tiffany & Co. (NYSE: TIF) saw modest U.S. sales gains and improved profit margins. The jewelry and tabletop items marketer reported a 6% earnings increase, to $32.7 million for the quarter ended April 30. Last year, Tiffany earned $30.7 million in the first quarter.

Sales rose 3%, to $347.1 million from $336.4 million a year ago. Combined catalog and Internet sales rose 37%, and corporate sales were down 11%.

Vermont Teddy Bear 3Q results up slightly Gifts marketer Vermont Teddy Bear Co. (Nasdaq: BEAR) enjoyed a 2% increase in third-quarter sales, to $14.5 million for the three months ended March 31. Net income rose less than $50,000, to nearly $1.65 million.

In addition to the core Vermont Teddy Bear brand, the Shelburne, VT-based company mails the SendAmerica gifts catalog. This past Mother’s Day, the company also introduced the PajamaGram brand and Website, which delivers spa products, sleepwear, and related gift items. The company’s Mother’s Day sales were up 19% from last year. Mother’s Day is its second-biggest selling season.

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