Financial reports: Lillian Vernon, Martha Stewart, PPR

Lillian Vernon net loss widens 82%

Rye, NY-based Lillian Vernon (Amex: LVC), which mails the Lilly’s Kids, Personalized Gifts, Favorites, Rue de France, and Lillian Vernon Gardening catalogs, reported that sales and earnings fell sharply in its fourth quarter and annual financial statements.

For the fiscal year ended Feb. 23, revenue was $259.6 million, down 10% from $287.1 million the previous year. The net loss increased 82%, to $9.1 million from $1.4 million. Fiscal 2001 results included one-time charges totaling $.31 per share primarily related to a restructuring charge and expiration of charitable contribution tax carry-forwards.

Lillian Vernon says the decrease in revenue and net income stems from a reduction in catalog circulation and lower revenue per book mailed as a result of the recession, Sept. 11, and the anthrax mail scares.

Revenue for the fourth quarter increased to $96.1 million compared to $95.2 million last year, mostly due to Lillian Vernon Online. The net loss for the fourth quarter was $4.3 million, compared to $2.9 million last year.

Martha’s messy balance sheet New York-based Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (NYSE: MSO), which mails the Martha by Mail catalog, reported lower sales and earnings in its Web/direct business. Revenue in the direct segment, which includes the catalog, fell 18%, to $7.8 million, compared with $9.5 million in revenue last year.

Quarterly earnings before interest taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) loss of $8.1 million. A year ago, Martha reported an EBITDA loss of $5.6 million. The company blamed the shortfall on reduced catalog circulation and losses associated with its March 2001 acquisition of online wedding gift registry The Wedding List, as well as severance costs associated with staff reduction during the quarter.

The direct division’s lower sales and earnings translated to corporate. Total company revenue totaled $68.7 million, compared to $70.3 million in the prior year’s quarter, EBITDA fell 38%, to $7.5 million, compared to $12.1 million last year.

1Q sales slip for Brylane parent Paris-based retail giant Pinault-Printemps-Redoute, which owns U.S. multititle mailer Brylane, said first quarter revenue fell 0.9% as three of its main sources of sales recorded decreases, reflecting continued tough trading conditions in North America and Europe. PPR said revenue for the period totaled EUR 6.71 billion, or $5.97 billion in U.S. dollars, down from EUR 6.76 billion, or $6.014 billion, but still in line with its forecast for the first half of the year. Brylane’s titles include Lerner’s, Chadwick’s of Boston, and KingSize.

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