Financial reports: Gaiam, Programmer’s Paradise, NEBS, Blair, J. Jill, more….

Double-digit sales, income growth for Gaiam

Manufacturer/marketer Gaiam (Nasdaq: GAIA) credits its burgeoning business-to-business division with much of the company’s first-quarter sales growth. For the three months ended March 31, the purveyor of healthy-lifestyle products reported net revenue of $24.3 million. That’s up 37% from $17.7 million for the first quarter of last year.

At the same time, net income climbed 75%, from $419,000 to $735,000. Gaiam’s catalogs include SelfCare and Real Goods. In addition, the Broomfield, CO-based company sells its proprietary products to national retailers such as Target and Borders.

Despite 28% sales drop, Programmer’s Paradise posts 1Q profit The decision to no longer sell Microsoft Select and Enterprise license agreements contributed to a 28% tumble in first-quarter sales at Programmer’s Paradise (Nasdaq: PROG). For the three months ended March 31, net sales were $17.4 million, compared with $24.2 million for the first quarter of 2001.

Nonetheless, the cataloger of technical software and hardware turned around last year’s first-quarter net loss of $156,000. The Shrewsbury, NJ-based mailer posted net income of $98,000.

Well-tuned 1Q sales for Guitar Center Cataloger/retailer Guitar Center (Nasdaq NMS: GTRC) reported an 18% rise in first-quarter sales, to $251.5 million for the three months ended March 31. But net income dropped 32%, to $3.4 million from $5.0 million last year.

Net sales for the direct response division, which includes the Musician’s Friend catalog, increased 18%, to $46.1 million from $39.0 million a year ago. Gross margin for the division fell to 29.7% from 31.4% for the first quarter of 2001.

Based on these results, Guitar Center is increasing sales and earnings projections for the second quarter. It expects second-quarter net sales of $245 million-$250 million and earnings per share of $0.13-$0.14. The Westlake Village, CA-based company has increased its year-end earnings per share estimate to $0.97-$1.03 from $0.91-$0.97.

Bottom line surges at Harvard Bioscience Holliston, MA-based Harvard Bioscience (Nasdaq: HBIO), a manufacturer/marketer of drug research supplies, reported first-quarter revenue of $12.0 million, up 41% from $8.6 million for the first quarter of 2001. Net income climbed 182%, to $773,000 for the three months ended March 31 from $272,000 a year earlier. The first quarter of 2001 had included charges for amortization of goodwill and certain intangibles net of tax of $144,000, which are not included in 2002 results due to the company’s January 2002 adoption of new accounting practices.

Blair’s in the black Apparel and home products cataloger Blair Corp. (Amex: BL) reported a 2% rise in first-quarter net sales. For the three months ended March 31, sales were $135.3 million, compared with $133.1 million for the same period of 2001.

Even better, the Warren, PA-based company turned around last year’s first-quarter net loss of $231,946 to post net income of $5.6 million. Last year’s results include a one-time $2.5 million cost associated with the company’s voluntary separation program, announced last January, when Blair moved an operations center that employed about 50 workers who chose to leave the company rather than relocate.

Despite flat sales, NEBS boosts bottom line Groton, MA-based business forms and apparel mailer New England Business Service (NYSE: NEB) reported a 31% increase in first-quarter net income, to $4.6 million from $3.5 million last year. Results include $207,000 of after-tax costs related to previously announced restructuring actions (including exit costs, training costs and relocation costs), compared with $917,000 of such costs last year. Revenue for the quarter ended March 30 totaled $132.9 million, flat the same as last year.

After four years, Getty Images posts quarterly profit Seattle-based Getty Images (NasdaqNM: GETY) reported its first quarterly net profit in more than four years. For the the three months ended March 31, the multititle marketer of photographic and multimedia images showed a net profit of $2.7 million, compared with a net loss of $14.6 million for the first quarter of 2001. The turnaround came despite a 9% decline in revenue, to $113.9 million from $125.8 million last year.

As for second-quarter guidance, Getty expects earnings per share of $0.07-$0.09 on revenue of $115 million-$119 million. It projects full-year earnings per share of $0.35-$0.45 on sales of $460 million-$480 million. Getty’s titles include Artville, EyeWire, and PhotoDisc.

Thriving J. Jill Group raises guidance Women’s apparel cataloger/retailer J. Jill Group (Nasdaq: JILL) enjoyed a 16% boost in first-quarter revenue and a 239% leap in net income. For the three months ended March 30, the Quincy, MA-based company reported net income of $2.7 million on net sales of $73.4 million. For the first quarter of 2001, the net income had been $796,000 on sales of $63.3 million.

Catalog and Internet sales decreased 3%, to $51.2 million, mainly as a result of lower promotional activity. First-quarter retail sales more than doubled, mostly due to new store openings.

Looking forward, for the second quarter of fiscal 2002 the company expects sales of $81.0 million-$83.0 million and earnings per diluted share of $0.26-$0.28. The current consensus estimate is $0.24 per share; for the second quarter of 2001 J. Jill had earnings of $0.21 per diluted share. For the year, the company expects net sales to grow 15%-20%. It is also projecting diluted earnings per share of $1.32-$1.37, compared with $1.05 last year.

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