Financial Reports: Cabela’s, Guitar Center, J. Jill,

Record First-Quarter Sales for Cabela’s
First-quarter sales at Sidney, NE-based outdoor gear merchant Cabela’s (NYSE: CAB) increased 12%, to a record $350.6 million. But the increase wasn’t enough to prevent a slip in net income, to $7.8 million from $8.0 million a year ago.

Direct revenue increased 11%, to a record $229.4 million for the three months ended April 2. Retail revenue increased 7%, to $97.2 million, but same store sales decreased 6%. Revenue from Cabela’s financial services unit increased 39%, to $22.9 million.

Guitar Center Net Up 35%
Westlake Village, CA-based cataloger/retailer Guitar Center (Nasdaq: GTRC), which mails the Musician’s Friend, Giardinelli, and LMI catalogs, reported a 35% jump in first-quarter consolidated net income and a 13% rise in consolidated net sales. For the three months ended March 31, the company netted $15.9 million on sales of $396.4 million.

Musician’s Friend direct response net sales increased 19%, to $91.5 million, even though the company said it is facing increased competition online.

Gross margins totaled 30% compared with 32% last year, reflecting a lower selling margin due to increased competitive pressure partially offset by a decrease in freight costs.

Net sales from Guitar Center stores increased 12%, to $294.7 million. Comparable store sales for the Guitar Center stores increased 5%.

Net sales from American Music stores increased 9%, to $10.2 million, primarily due to the acquisition of Karnes Music in the third quarter of 2004. American Music comparable store sales decreased 1%.

J. Jill Posts Loss
First-quarter net sales for Hingham, MA-based women’s apparel merchant J. Jill (Nasdaq: JILL) fell 2%, to $98.4 million for the three months ended March 26. The cataloger/retailer posted a $2.7 million net loss for the quarter, compared with net income of $2.2 million a year ago.

Breaking the numbers down by channel, retail revenue increased 12%, to $56.6 million. Internet sales rose 13%, to $21.5 million. Catalog sales, though, tumbled 35%, to $19.3 million.

“The first quarter of fiscal 2005 was a disappointing quarter for J. Jill,” president/CEO Gordon Cooke said in a statement. “Our early spring merchandise assortments and marketing campaigns did not resonate well with our customers, and as a result, productivity levels in both channels were below our expectations.” Posts Wider Loss
Although a 24% rise in mail-order pharmacy sales contributed to the overall first-quarter sales growth overall at Bellevue, WA-based (Nasdaq: DSCM), it wasn’t enough to keep the Internet retailer from posting a wider net loss. posted an 18% year-over-year increase in net sales, to $99.6 million for the three months ended April 3. Gross profit rose 12%, to $20.2 million. But the company nonetheless reported a first-quarter net loss of $5.0 million, compared with a $4.6 million loss last year. The earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) loss was $1.3 million for the first quarter, compared with $961,000 last year.

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