Financial Reports: Blair, Aramark, Excelligence

Annual Income Up 52% for Blair
Warren, PA-based apparel and home goods mailer Blair Corp. posted a 52% increase in net income, to $31.5 million for the year ended Dec. 31. The boost came despite an 8% drop in net sales, to $456.6 million from $496.1 million for 2005

The decline in sales reflects the elimination in early 2005 of Blair’s Crossing Pointe women’s apparel title. More-stringent credit standards and lower-than-anticipated response rates to Blair’s traditional letter mailings.

At the end of 2004, Blair Corp. closed its Crossing Pointe women’s apparel business, which was launched in 2004 as part of an attempt to attract younger baby boomers. It also decided to wind down its even-newer wholesale apparel business, Allegheny Trail, which it had started up in 2003.

Much of the company’s increase in income resulted from a reduction in the cost of goods sold, according to a statement. Blair plans to continue to expand internal product development and direct international sourcing as part of its strategic initiatives to further reduce the cost of goods and increase profitability.

Aramark’s Direct Business Down 1%
Philadelphia-based Aramark Corp. reported record sales of $2.9 billion for the first quarter of 2006, a 7% increase over last year. Net income increased nearly 30%, to a record $93 million. “Companywide, our margin improved as a result of solid growth and effective cost control, with significant margin improvement for U.S. and international food and support services segments, as well as our uniform rental business,” chairman/CEO Joseph Neubauer said in a statement.

But sales from its direct-marketing business–public-safety supplier Galls, workwear merchant WearGuard (whose catalogs have been rebranded to reflect the parent company), and Crest Uniform Healthcare–fell 1%, to $125 million. In addition, operating income for the segment decreased 16%, to $7 million.

Excellent 2Q for Excelligence
Second-quarter revenue for Monterey, CA-based Excelligence Learning Corp. increased 12%, to $29.8 million for the 13 weeks ended June 30, 2005. Revenue for the Early Childhood division, which includes the Discount School Supply and Early Childhood Manufacturers’ Direct catalogs of products for preschools and educators, grew 14%, to $24.6 million. The Elementary School division, which sells fundraising kits to schools, reported a nearly 3% rise in sales, to $5.1 million.

Net income climbed from $136,000 for the second quarter of 2004 to $698,000.

The company’s stock was delisted from Nasdaq earlier this month because it had not been able to file its quarterly reports on time. The company is currently trading on the Pink Sheets under “LRNS.PK.”

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