Financial reports: Blair, 1-800-Flowers.com

Blair in the black thanks to cost cuts

Though net sales dropped 4%, Warren, PA-based Blair Corp. (Amex: BL) ended the third quarter in the black, thanks to a watchful eye on costs.

Net income for the three months ended Sept. 30 totaled $279,386, compared with a net loss of $3.3 million for the third quarter of last year. Sales fell to $117.8 million from $123.0 million a year ago.

The apparel and home goods cataloger attributes the improved bottom line to a significant reduction in the cost of goods sold, resulting in part from lower inventory liquidation costs. Operating costs, which include advertising, general and administrative costs, and interest expenses, decreased 5% for the quarter.

1-800-Flowers cuts its losses Multititle marketer 1-800-Flowers.com (Nasdaq: FLWS) reported a 13% increase in third-quarter revenue, to $89.2 million for the three months ended Sept. 29. Online revenue increased 26%, to $40.8 million. “Telephonic” revenue grew 4%, to $42.5 million.

What’s more, 1-800-Flowers slashed its third-quarter loss, to $7.3 million from last year’s $8.9 million. The company, whose catalogs include Plow & Hearth and Magic Cabin Dolls, attributes the improvement to increased demand for its expanded offering of nonfloral gifts and enhanced operating efficiencies.

The Westbury, NY-based company also says it has completed its integration of The Popcorn Factory, the food gifts cataloger it acquired in May. In a statement, 1-800-Flowers said it has upgraded the Popcorn Factory Website and moved it along with the title’s customer service inhouse.

“As a result,” CEO Jim McCann said in a statement, “we were able to improve our bottom-line results despite the fact that, as forecast, we incurred an additional loss of approximately $1.5 million associated with The Popcorn Factory, which has very low sales volume relative to its fixed overhead during the summer months.”

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