Financial Reports: Lillian Vernon, Neiman Marcus, Delia’s

Annual Loss More Than Doubles at Lillian Vernon

A planned reduction in catalog circulation and a difficult retail environment fueled losses at Lillian Vernon Corp. (Amex: LVC), which was sold to a private equity fund managed by Ripplewood Holdings earlier in the quarter.

Revenue for the fiscal year ended Feb. 22 was $238.0 million, down 8% from $259.6 million for fiscal 2002. The net loss was $18.6 million, compared with last year’s net loss of $9.1 million.

The Rye, NY-based company recorded a tax valuation allowance of $4.6 million related to the potential inability to fully use its net operating loss tax carryforwards. In addition, fiscal 2003 results included financing charges and SG&A (catalog) expense totaling $2.4 million after taxes to account for the company’s paper collar contract. Furthermore, amortization of the company’s upgraded Website software installed last year resulted in additional charges of $700,000 after taxes and a charge of $700,000 after taxes for increased Internet advertising expenses.

For the fourth quarter, revenue fell to $86.7 million from $96.1 million last year. The net loss was $3.5 million, compared with $4.3 million net loss last year. The decrease in the net loss for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2003 was due to higher gross profit on products sold, principally as a result of lower markdowns and reduced fulfillment costs.

Quarterly Net Loss Widens at Delia’s New York-based cataloger/retailer Delia’s reported a higher first-quarter net loss on increased sales. The net loss at the marketer to teen apparel grew to $7.3 million from $4.3 million a year ago. Revenue grew slightly, to $29.5 million for the quarter ended May 3 from $28.8 million last year. Direct sales, which include the catalog, fell 12% following a 22% reduction in catalog circulation. Retail sales grew by 21%, primarily because of new store openings.

Revenue Up, Earnings Down at Neiman Marcus Upscale cataloger/retailer Neiman Marcus, which mails the Horchow, Neiman Marcus, and Chef’s Catalog titles, reported sales of $723 million for the quarter ended May 3. That’s up 8% from $693 million for the comparable quarter of last year. Net earnings, however, fell 13%, to $41 million from $47 million.

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