Financial Reports: Harry and David, School Specialty, Blue Nile

2Q Sales Increase at Harry and David
Second-quarter net sales at Medford, OR-based Harry and David Holdings rose 7%, to $389.2 million for the 13 weeks ended Dec. 30, 2006. Last year’s second-quarter sales were $362.4 million. Net income increased 27%, to $62.5 million from $49.1 million.

Net sales for the direct marketing division, which includes the Harry and David food gifts catalogs and Website, the catalog and Web business of horticultural mailer Jackson & Perkins, and outbound telemarketing sales, rose 5%, to $270.5 million from $257.9 million. Officials attributed the increase to a combination of higher shipping and handling charges, increased retail prices, and lower markdowns due to the company’s planned reduction in price promotional activity.

Net sales for Harry and David stores increased nearly 8%, to $71.6 million from $66.5 million. Same-store sales increased 6%. Net sales for Jackson & Perkins increased 2%, to $26.6 million.

School Specialty Sees Flat Sales in 3Q
Third-quarter sales at Greenville, WI-based b-to-b educational products cataloger School Specialty were down slightly, to $132.1 million for the three months ended Jan. 27, compared with $132.5 for the previous third quarter the previous year. During the third quarter the company repurchased 1.1 million shares of its common stock for an aggregate net purchase price of $40.0 million. The net loss was $18.8 million, an improvement over last year’s third-quarter net loss of $22.5 million. The company’s titles include Sax Arts & Crafts, Frey Scientific, and Sportime.

Sales Flowing at Blue Nile
It was a big fourth quarter for Seattle-based jewelry Website Blue Nile, which reported a nearly 24% jump in sales, to $90.7 million for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2006. Net sales for the previous fourth quarter had been $73.2 million. Annual sales rose nearly 24% as well, to a record $251.6 million from $203.2 million for 2005.

There was more good news. Net income rebounded in the fourth quarter, to $6.5 million compared with last year’s fourth-quarter loss of $760,000. For fiscal 2006, net income hit $15.7 million, a satisfying turnaround from 2005’s net loss of $2.6 million.

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