Financial Reports: Coldwater Creek, J. Jill, Urban Outfitters

Retail Continues to Drive Coldwater Creek
Retail sales continue to drive impressive double-digit sales gains at Sandpoint, ID-based women’s apparel merchant Coldwater Creek.

But while Coldwater says its print catalogs are its most effective advertising vehicle for “promoting the brand and driving traffic to both retail stores and the Internet,” catalog sales continue to fade.

Fourth-quarter catalog sales decreased 18%, to $43.5 million from $52.8 million the previous year. Internet sales increased 26%, to $62.3 million. Net retail sales increased 48%, to $98.3 million. Total fourth-quarter net sales rose 21%, to $204.1 million from $168.8 million. And net income jumped 78%, to $11.4 million for the quarter ended Jan. 29.

Coldwater’s annual results mirror its quarterly numbers. Net income for the year increased a whopping 137%, to $29.1 million from $12.3 million for fiscal 2003. Net sales increased 14%, to $590.3 million.

Catalog sales decreased 25%, to $131.9 million. But Internet net sales increased 9%, to $162.2 million. Net retail sales increased 52%, to $296.2 million.

The company opened seven full-line stores during the fiscal 2004 fourth quarter for a total of 114 full-line retail stores in operation at the end of fiscal 2004, compared with 66 full-line stores at the end of fiscal 2003.

Tough Times at J. Jill’s Direct Division

Though Quincy, MA-based women’s apparel merchant J. Jill (Nasdaq: JILL) boosted its total sales and income, the direct division “continues to fall short of our expectations,” president/CEO Gordon Cooke admitted in a statement.

Fourth-quarter catalog sales fell 23%, to $24.8 million from $32.1 million the previous year. Total direct sales for the quarter fell 10%, to $46.0 million from $51.3 million.

Total net sales for the fourth quarter nonetheless increased 4%, to $119.4 million for the three months ended Dec. 25. But net income for the quarter fell 19%, to $2.6 million.

For the fiscal year, the company increased net sales 15%, to $434.9 million. Net income rose 24%, to $8.7 million. Total direct sales fell 2%, to $191.1 million, with catalog sales falling 12%, to 110.5 million.

“We think that our ongoing design initiatives, combined with our fit evolution, may be creating the appearance that we are shifting our focus to a different or younger customer,” Cooke said in the statement. “This is not our strategy, and we need to find a way to make that clear to our customers.”

Cooke added that J. Jill is reassessing the size of its direct business with an eye toward “rightsizing” it in order to maintain its profitability.

Direct Sales Jump 84% at Urban Outfitters
Philadelphia-based Urban Outfitters (NasdaqNM: URBN) continues to crank out impressive financials.

The parent company of apparel and home goods cataloger/retailers Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters and clothing manufacturer/marketer Free Peoplereported a 70% leap in fourth-quarter direct sales, to $33.4 million. Total net sales for the quarter increased 43%, to a record $251.6 million.

For the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, direct sales totaled $93.9 million, an 84% increase from $51.1 million the previous year. Total annual revenue increased 51%, to $827.8 million from $548.4 million. Net income nearly doubled, to $95.2 million from $48.4 million.

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