Financial Reports: NEBS, Concepts Direct, Peet’s Coffee

Stamford, CT—Multititle mailer New England Business Service (NEBS; NYSE: NEB) posted a 12% rise in annual revenue, to a record $586.1 million for the year ended June 30. But the news isn’t as good as you might think. For one thing, fiscal 2001 was one week longer than fiscal 2000. For another, net income fell 36%, to $18.7 million from $29.4 million last year. Excluding one-time items from both fiscal 2001 and 2000, however, the decline was 10%.

Fourth-quarter sales increased 15%, to $145.6 million from $126.7 million the previous year, due largely to the PremiumWear catalog, which Groton, MA-based NEBS bought in July 2000 and to the extra week in the fiscal quarter. But net income was only half of what it was for the fourth quarter of 2000: $3.6 million, compared with $7.2 million.

The cataloger, which sells business forms, work apparel, packing supplies, and other products for small and midsize businesses, warned that first-quarter sales and earnings for fiscal 2002 will likely fall short of those for 2001. For the entire 2002, NEBS projects sales growth of just 2% and earnings-per-share growth, excluding one-time items, of 6%-10%.

Longmont, CO-based gifts and stationery cataloger Concepts Direct (Nasdaq: CDIR) had an up-and-down second quarter. Sales dropped 13%, from $11.2 million last year to $9.8 million for the three months ended June 30. But the cataloger did manage to reduce its net loss 26%, to $1.4 million from $1.9 million.

Much of the company’s sales declines and bottom-line improvement resulted from circulation cuts. For instance, circulation for stationery title Colorful Images was down 8% for the quarter, which produced a 1% sales decline. Circulation of the Linda Anderson Collectibles title was slashed 60%, though revenue fell only 8%. Another gifts title, The Music Stand, saw sales drop 45% on a 70% cut in circulation.

In other Concepts Direct news, the board of directors reappointed company founder/chairman Phillip Wiland to the role of CEO. And president J. Michael Wolfe will act as interim chief financial officer, following the resignation of David Haddon.

Over at Emeryville, CA-based Peet’s Coffee & Tea (Nasdaq: PEET), catalog and Web sales are perking along nicely. For the second quarter ended July 2, direct sales were $2.8 million, up 8% from the second quarter of 2000. Including the retail and wholesale divisions, Peet’s posted a nearly 13% rise in sales, to $22.7 million from $20.2 million. What’s more, the specialty beverages purveyor reported net income of $64,000, compared to a net loss a year ago of $1.8 million.

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