Financial Reports: Blair, Sportsman’s Guide

Blair Income Up for Q4, Down for Year

It was a good news, bad news scenario for Warren, PA-based Blair Corp. (Amex: BL). First the bad news. The marketer posted essentially flat fourth-quarter sales: $166.5 million for the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with $167.9 million for the same period of 2002. But net income for the quarter shot up 46%, to $9.1 million from $6.2 million the previous year.

Net sales for the year ended Dec. 31 were a record $581.9 million, compared with $568.5 million for 2002. Just the same, net income for the year slid 24%, to $14.5 million from $19.1 million the previous year. The apparel and home goods mailer says advertising expenses as a percentage of net sales rose to 26.9% for 2003 from 25.7% for 2002 due to a $10.5 million increase in “strategic outreach initiatives,” including additional catalog mailings to house file and prospective customers.

In other company news, Blair says it plans to launch Allegheny Trail Corp., a wholesale business targeting outdoor sporting goods and recreational retailers, as well as relaunch its Irvine Park menswear catalog, which targets men who are younger and more affluent than its core audience of mature consumers. It warns that income for the first quarter of 2004 may be lower than for the first quarter of 2003 due to start-up costs from the marketing ventures.

Sportsman’s Guide Gains in Fourth Quarter, Year
South St. Paul, MN-based outdoor gear cataloger The Sportsman’s Guide (Nasdaq: SGDE) posted sales and income gains for both the quarter and year ended Dec. 31.

For the quarter, sales increased 8%, to $71.7 million from $66.3 million for the fourth quarter of 2002. Net earnings increased 29%, to $3.8 million from $2.6 million.

Annual sales totaled $194.7 million, a 9% increase over $179.3 million in 2002. Net earnings increased 53%, to $6.2 million from $4.0 million.

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