Financial Reports: Coldwater Creek, J. Crew, Chico’s

Net Income Jumps at Coldwater Creek

Better-than-expected retail sales fuel the first-quarter growth at women’s apparel marketer Coldwater Creek (Nasdaq: CWTR). Net income for the Sandpoint, ID-based company increased 35%, to $1.9 million for the three months ended May 3 from $1.4 million last year. Net sales increased 8%, to $115.2 million from $106.2 million last year.

Catalog and the Internet sales decreased slightly, to $81.9 million from $82.0 million last year. Catalog net sales increased less than 1%, to $46.0 million from $45.9 million. E-commerce sales dipped to $35.9 million from $36.1 million last year. Net sales from the retail segment, which includes the company’s full-line retail stores, resort stores, and outlet stores, increased 37%, to $33.3 million.

1Q Loss Widens at J.Crew Apparel cataloger/retailer J. Crew saw its first-quarter net loss swell to $19.6 million for the three months ended May 3. For the first quarter of fiscal 2002, the New York-based company lost $12.1 million. First-quarter revenue decreased 3%, to $161.5 million from $167.1 million last year. Net sales in J.Crew’s direct business decreased 2%. Comparable store sales decreased 11%.

The 2003 results do not include a tax benefit, whereas for the first quarter of 2002 the company enjoyed a tax benefit of $6.5 million. What’s more, J. Crew’s merchandise margin declined from 40.1% to 34.6%, the result of higher markdowns. Management’s new strategy is to dispose of slow-moving merchandise in season rather than hold onto it for seasons to come.

Double-Digit Gains for Chico’s Women’s apparel cataloger/retailer Chico’s FAS (NYSE: CHS) continues to crank out impressive improvements. For the quarter ended May 3, Chico’s had sales of $169.0 million, up 30% from $130.5 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2002. Net catalog and Internet sales skyrocketed 58%, to $5.7 million from $3.6 million. Comparable store sales rose 8%. And net income rose 18%, to $23.4 million from $19.8 million a year ago.

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