Financial Reports: J. Crew, Charming Shoppes, Coldwater Creek and More

Direct and Total Sales Rise at J. Crew
Apparel merchant J. Crew saw its revenues increase 10% to $336.3 million for the second quarter.

The company’s direct sales rose by 12% to $83.2 million, while its store sales increased 10% to $242.3 million.

J. Crew’s operating income decreased 15% to $31.5 million, or 9.4% of revenues, compared to $37.1 million, or 12.2% of revenues, in the second quarter of fiscal 2007. And its net income was $18.1 million, compared to a net income of $20.6 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2007.

Direct Sales Drive Charming Shoppes
Charming Shoppes said its second quarter net sales from continuing operations for the 13 weeks ended Aug. 2 were down, but did see a lift in its direct sales.

Net sales for the quarter decreased 7% to $648.6 million, compared to net sales from continuing operations during the same period last year.

But net sales from continuing operations in the direct-to-consumer segment were $22.5 million for the quarter, compared to $4.2 million during the same period last year. The increase is related to incremental sales related to the launch of the Lane Bryant Woman catalog in November 2007.

The current and prior year sales figures do not include those from the eight catalog titles it sold Monday for $35 million to Orchard Brands.

2Q Sales Down at Coldwater Creek
Ladies apparel seller Coldwater Creek’s net sales were $241.4 million, compared to $253.5 million in the second quarter of 2007, primarily as a result of a decrease in retail store traffic and lower direct channel sales.

Sales from the retail segment, which includes the Company’s premium retail stores, outlet stores, and day spa locations, were $189.4 million versus $177.7 million in the fiscal 2007 second quarter.

Comparable store sales declined 13.7% in the second quarter versus the second quarter of fiscal 2007. Direct sales (phone and internet) were $52.1 million, compared to $75.8 million in the same period last year.

Celebrate Express Down 8.7% in Fiscal 2008
Celebrate Express reported net sales of $77.8 million in fiscal 2008, a decrease of 8.7% from net sales of $85.2 million during the 2007 fiscal year.

Loss from operations in fiscal 2008 was $8.7 million, compared with a loss from operations of $1.4 million for the previous year.

The $11.9 million decrease in Birthday Express revenue for fiscal 2008 from the prior year was due primarily to a combination of intentional reductions in the number of Birthday Express catalogs circulated, to eliminate less productive mailings in response to the increased costs for postage, printing and paper, sub-optimal catalog circulation selection and mailing during the last part of fiscal 2008, customer service issues associated with its infrastructure issues and improvement initiatives, and the general weakness in consumer spending during the last half of fiscal 2008, said the company in a statement.

But there was some good news for the party supply merchant. During fiscal 2008, Costume Express sales increased by $5.7 million, or 43.1%, as compared to the previous fiscal year, as it increased its marketing and merchandising efforts for that brand.

Also during fiscal 2008, the company had orders from approximately 560,000 new customers, bringing the total customer database to over 3.9 million names.

Williams-Sonoma 2Q Direct Sales Fall
Direct-to-consumer sales for Williams-Sonoma fell 4.3% to $356.4 million in the second quarter, but that was the bright point of the merchant’s earnings release today.

In a statement, Williams-Sonoma chairman and CEO Howard Lester said comparable store sales declined from negative 8.6% in the first quarter to negative 14.0% in the second.

“We were disappointed by the degree to which the macro-economic environment deteriorated in the second quarter – the impact of which was progressively declining comparable store sales throughout the quarter,” Lester said in a statement.

The merchant said net revenues for second quarter 2008 decreased 4.6% to $819.6 million vs. $859.4 million for the 13-week second quarter of fiscal year 2007.

The direct sales figure includes a $2.6 million or 0.7% impact associated with a voluntary product recall in the Pottery Barn brand, versus $372.4 million in second quarter 2007.

Williams-Sonoma said the decrease was driven by declining net revenues in the Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids and Williams-Sonoma Home brands, but partially offset by increasing net revenues in the PBteen, West Elm and Williams-Sonoma brands.

Internet revenues in second quarter 2008 increased 11.7% to $265.1 million versus $237.4 million in second quarter 2007.

Gander Mountain Goes Back to Catalogs
Outdoors merchant Gander Mountain has begun a limited national distribution of its 244-page catalog to customers, marking a return to that channel after a 12-year hiatus.

The fall 2008 catalog will be the first edition from Gander Mountain since 1996 when it sold its catalog operation. The return to direct marketing allows Gander Mountain to become a true multi-channel retailer with the ability to sell products to customers beyond the 23 states in which its 115 retail stores are located, the company said in a statement.

The company also said yesterday that it posted a net loss of $4.9 million for the second quarter, compared to a net loss of $9.7 million in the prior year.

The direct marketer and retailer reported sales of $252.9 million for the quarter ended Aug.2, an increase of 16.8% over $216.5 million last year.

Management attributed these results in part to the company’s acquisition of Overton’s, which brought in $39.7 million in revenue during the quarter.

Talbots Losses Nearly Doubled
The Talbots Inc. reported a net loss of $25 million for the second quarter, nearly doubling its net loss of $13.3 million in the prior year.

The direct marketer and retailer posted sales of $528 million for the quarter ended Aug. 2, an 8% decline from $572 million last year.

The Hingham, MA firm posted direct marketing sales of $102 million for the quarter, an increase over $100 million in the prior year.

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