Financial reports: Penney, Systemax, School Specialty, Tiffany, Sportsman’s Guide

J.C. Penney posts lower catalog sales

Plano, TX-based J.C. Penney Co. (NYSE: JCP) reported that second-quarter catalog sales decreased 21%, but changes in policies and programs led to improved profits. For the three months ended July 27, department store and catalog sales were $3.6 billion, down 6% from $3.9 billion for the second quarter of last year. Comparable store sales decreased 2%. The sales decline resulted principally from lower-than-planned levels of inventory. Total company sales, which include revenue from Penney’s Eckard’s drugstore chain, slid to $7.20 billion to $7.21 billion last year.

Gross margin benefited from centralized merchandising and catalog inventory management. Second-quarter LIFO operating profit was $22 million, compared with $11 million a year ago. The general merchandiser shaved its net loss 91%, to $6 million from $69 million last year.

Systemax suffers 2Q loss Computer and industrial supplies manufacturer/marketer Systemax (NYSE: SYX) had net of $363.8 million for the quarter ended June 30, virtually flat with sales of $363.5 million for the second quarter of last year. The Port Washington, NY-based multititle mailer lost $667,000 before recording a nonrecurring charge from its previously announced decision to discontinue the development of a new customer order management software system. The net loss for the second quarter, including the $13.6 million pretax nonrecurring charge, was $8.8 million compared with a net loss of $2.6 million last year.

Record sales, income for School Specialty Greenville, WI-based School Specialty (Nasdaq: SCHS), whose titles include Childcraft, Sax Arts and Crafts, Frey Scientific, Brodhead Garrett, Teacher’s Video, Premier Agendas, and Sportime, reported a record $298.0 million in revenue for its fiscal first quarter, a 15% increase over last year. Net income for the quarter increased 46%, to a record $24.0 million. The cataloger of school and teaching supplies attributes the growth in revenue primarily to last year’s acquisition of Premier Agendas as well as to internal growth in its specialty lines.

Catalog and Internet sales up at Tiffany Upscale jewelry and gifts marketer Tiffany & Co. (NYSE: TIF) reported a slight rise in total second-quarter net sales, though catalog and Internet sales rose 27%. Net earnings, on the other hand, fell 9%.

For the three months ended July 31, New York-based Tiffany posted net income of $32.7 million on sales of $374.4 million. For the second quarter of last year, income was $36.1 million on net sales of $371.3 million.

Sportsman’s Guide in the black A 10% rise in revenue and lower expenses carried outdoor gear cataloger The Sportsman’s Guide (Nasdaq: SGDE) to profitability. For the quarter ended June 30, the South St. Paul, MN-based mailer reported sales of $34.9 million, compared with $31.8 million for the second quarter of 2001. Net earnings for the quarter totaled $317,000, compared to a net loss of $207,000 last year. Internet-related sales as percentage of total sales reached 30% for the quarter, compared to approximately 21% for the same period in 2001.

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