Financial reports: Dell, Sharper Image, Nordstrom

Dell’s net income down 36%

Direct marketing computer giant Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) suffered a 36% plummet in third-quarter net income and a 10% slide in revenue. For the three months ended Nov. 2, Dell reported net income of $429 million on sales of $7.5 billion. For the comparable period of 2000, net income was $674 million on sales of $8.3 billion.

Looking ahead to the fourth quarter, the Austin, TX-based manufacturer/marketer is projecting a slight revenue increase over last year and stable profit margins, with earnings for the quarter of $0.16 per share.

Sharper Image lives and dies by the Razor Scooter San Francisco-based cataloger/retailer Sharper Image (Nasdaq: SHRP) reported a 24% decline in third-quarter revenue. For the three months ended Oct. 31, sales were $77.0 million, down from last year’s $101.1 million. Catalog sales decreased 11%, to $22.8 million from $25.5 million. Internet sales, which include auction sales, fell 29%, to $9.7 million from $13.7 million. Total store sales decreased 28%, to $41.8 million, while comparable store sales decreased 36%.

More bad news: The upscale gadgets marketer posted a net loss for the quarter of $3.8 million, a sharp downturn from last year’s third-quarter net income of $3.1 million.

The company laid much of the blame on the declining popularity of Razor Scooters, which had led to skyrocketing sales last year. “Sales comparisons to last year were most difficult in the third quarter, because gains driven by scooter sales were exceptionally high, including a 66 % increase in comparable store sales and a 68 % increase in total revenues,” founder/chairman/CEO Richard Thalheimer said in a statement. Excluding scooter sales from the year-over-year comparisons, Sharper Image’s total third-quarter sales rose 10 %, with catalog sales leading the way with a 23% increase.

Cost-cutting pushes Nordstrom into the black Apparel cataloger/retailer Nordstrom (NYSE: JWN) reported third-quarter net earnings of $10.5 million, a vast improvement upon the $3.3 million net loss it posted for the third quarter of last year. The black ink came despite a 2% dip in net sales, to $1.2 billion.

Seattle-based Nordstrom doesn’t break out quarterly sales for its Nordstrom.com Internet and catalog subsidiary. But for the first nine months of the fiscal year, Web and catalog sales were $198.9 million, down 11% from $223.1 million a year ago. But Nordstrom.com reduced its operating loss to $8.3 million from $24.7 million for the first nine months of fiscal 2000.

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