Financial reports: Neiman Marcus, J. Crew, Alloy, Delia’s, Chico’s

NM Direct Operating Earnings Up 71%

Upscale apparel and home furnishings cataloger/retailer Neiman Marcus Group (NYSE: NMG.A) reported total revenue of $693 million for the third quarter of its fiscal year. That’s down from $699 million for the comparable period of last year. Revenue for Neiman Marcus Direct, which includes the Horchow and Chef’s Catalog titles, fell 4%, to $93 million from $97 million a year ago. But operating earnings for Neiman Marcus Direct increased 71%, to $12 million from $7 million a year ago. Total net earnings rose 23%, to $47 million from $38.1 million last year.

For fiscal May, the Dallas-based company’s revenue decreased 4%, to $209 million for the month ended May 25. Comparable May revenue at Neiman Marcus Direct fell nearly 8%. Top-selling merchandise in the direct division included all home categories, ladies’ shoes, and jewelry.

Severance Costs Led to More Red Ink for J. Crew A $4.6 million pretax charge relating to layoffs and the severance of former CEO Mark Sarvary took its toll on J. Crew. The apparel cataloger/retailer reported a $12.1 million net loss for its fiscal first quarter ended May 4. For the first quarter of fiscal 2001, the New York-based company lost $9.3 million. Excluding the severance charges, this year’s first-quarter net loss would have been $9.1 million.

Revenue for the quarter dipped to $167.1 million from $167.8 million a year ago. Catalog and Internet sales increased 1%. But comparable store sales decreased 13%.

Alloy Posts 1Q Profit Teen apparel cataloger Alloy (NasdaqNM: ALOY) posted a 79% increase in first-quarter revenue, which propelled the marketer into the black. Net income for the quarter totaled $3.1 million, compared with a net loss of $7.4 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2001.

Revenue was $50.4 million, compared with $28.2 million a year ago. Alloy attributes the increase to a 31% rise in merchandise sales (thanks largely to the acquisition of the Dan’s Competition catalog of sports gear) and a 330% gain in sponsorship and other revenue to $19.4 million. The New York-based company provides marketing services to businesses marketing to Generation Y consumers.

Circulation Cuts Lead to Drop in Delia’s Sales First-quarter net sales at teen apparel cataloger/retailer Delia’s (Nasdaq: DLIA) decreased 6%, to $28.8 million from $30.7 million last year, due to catalog circulation cuts. But the New York-based company enjoyed a boost to its bottom line. The net loss before the cumulative effect of a change in accounting principle was $4.3 million, compared with its first-quarter loss of $8.3 million last year. And after the positive effect of a change in accounting principle, net income for the quarter was $11.1 million.

Chico’s Direct Sales Up 57% Added by a 57% increase in catalog and Web sales, women’s apparel cataloger/retailer Chico’s FAS (NYSE: CHS) posted solid gains on both sides of the ledger.

Catalog and Web sales for the quarter ended May 4 were $3.6 million, compared with $2.3 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2001. Total first-quarter net sales increased 40%, to $130.5 million from $93.2 million last year. Net income rose 60%, to $19.8 million, from $12.4 million.

Fort Myers, FL-based Chico’s gross margin, which was 62.4% of its net sales, was its best since the third quarter of 1994. Selling, general, and administrative expense (SG&A) expenses decreased from 36.9% of sales to 35.6% of sales.

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