Direct Business Up at J.C. Penney
The direct division of Plano, TX-based cataloger/retailer J.C. Penney Co. (NYSE: JCP) enjoyed its first year-over-year sales growth following several years of repositioning. But the catalog and Internet unit’s gains were not enough to offset the financial impact of the company’s decision to account for the bite that the Eckerd Drugstore chain and Mexico store operations took out of the bottom line.
For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2003, ended Jan. 31, combined department store and catalog/Internet sales were $6.1 billion, up 6% from the previous fourth quarter. Nonetheless, Penney posted a fourth-quarter loss of $1.1 billion.
For the year, sales totaled $17.8 billion, compared with $17.6 billion the previous year. Internet sales alone exceeded $600 million, up about 50% from the previous year. Again, though, Penney lost $928 million, compared with net income of $405 million for fiscal 2002.
Henry Schein Reports a Solid 2003
Fourth-quarter net sales at Melville, NY-based Henry Schein (NasdaqNM: HSIC) increased 27%, to a record $946.9 million for the three months ended Dec. 27. Net income for the marketer of medical and dental supplies increased 15%, to $35.5 million from $31.0 million for the previous fourth quarter. Dental sales increased 17%, while medical sales grew 35%, and international sales improved 38%.
For the year, net sales climbed 20%, to $3.40 billion from $2.83 billion in fiscal 2002. Net income from continuing operations increased 18%, to $139.5 million.
Systemax Reverses 2002 Loss
Port Washington, NY-based Systemax (NYSE: SYX) reported a 9% rise in fourth-quarter sales. But $2.9 million in restructuring and other charges led to a plummet in net income. For the three months ended Dec. 31, the manufacturer/marketer of computers, industrial supplies, and office products netted $533,000 on sales of $437.5 million. For the fourth quarter of 2002, Systemax had posted net income of $1.0 million on $403.3 million in sales.
Annual net sales increased 7%, to $1.66 billion from $1.55 billion in 2002. The parent company of the Global, TigerDirect, and Arrow Star Discount catalogs posted net income of $5.6 million, a tidy turnaround from the net loss of $58.9 million suffered the previous year. Excluding the effects of restructuring and other charges recorded in 2003 and 2002 and the goodwill write-off recorded in 2003, net income would have been $9.1 million compared with $3.0 million in 2002.
Victoria’s Secret Direct Up for the Quarter, Year
Buried deep inside the financial reports at Columbus, OH-based Limited Brands (NYSE: LTD) you’ll see that subsidiary Victoria’s Secret reported sales gains for both the fourth quarter and year.
For the fourth quarter ended Jan. 31, Limited Brands’ total sales were $3.23 billion, up 9% from the previous year. Fourth-quarter sales at Victoria’s Secret Direct increased 9% at well, to $328.7 million. On a reported basis, net income increased 10%, to $387.6 million from $352.9 million the previous fourth quarter.
For the year, total net sales increased 6%, to $8.93 billion from $8.45 billion for fiscal 2002. Annual sales at Victoria’s Secret Direct grew 6%, to $995.6 million. On a reported basis, net income jumped 43%, to $716.8 million from $501.7 million.
American Eagle Enjoys Solid Direct Growth
Warrendale, PA-based apparel marketer American Eagle Outfitters (Nasdaq: AEOS) reported a 5% increase in fourth-quarter sales, to $517.3 million for the three months ended Jan. 31. Catalog and Internet sales climbed 14%, to $21.6 million from $18.9 million the previous fourth quarter. Comparable store sales fell 5%. Adjusted net income for the quarter, which excludes a noncash goodwill impairment charge, increased 7%, to $41.5 million.
For the fiscal year, total sales increased 4%, to $1.52 billion from $1.46 billion in 2002. Direct sales rose 20%, to $54.6 million from $45.6 million. Comparable store sales fell 7%, however. Adjusted net income, which excludes noncash goodwill impairment charges, dropped to $74.1 million from $88.7 million.