Financial Reports: Staples, Penney, 1-800-Flowers, and More

Higher Annual Sales, Lower Income at
Westbury, NY-based (Nasdaq: FLWS) posted an 11% rise in annual revenue but a 39% drop in comparable pretax income.

For the fiscal year ended July 3, the gifts, toys, and home décor merchant reported pretax income of $13.2 million on sales of $670.7 million. Though telephonic sales decreased 1%, to $259.2, online revenue rose 17%, to $360.9 million. The parent company of Plow & Hearth, Popcorn Factory, HearthSong, and Cheryl & co., among other titles, said that some of the bottom-line erosion resulted from increased spending on customer acquisition and the expansion of its Bloomnet business-to-business florist operation.

Staples Rides Delivery Unit to Gains
Substantial increases in its North American Delivery business unit led Framingham, MA-based Staples (Nasdaq: SPLS) to second-quarter gains on both sides of the ledger.

Total company revenue increased 12%, to $3.47 billion for the quarter ended July 30. Net income rose 20%, to $147 million.

Revenue within the North American Delivery group, which includes the Staples, Quill, and Medical Arts Press catalogs and Websites, increased 17%, to $1.1 billion. Operating income for the unit climbed 30%, to $111.4 million.

International sales rose 15%, though excluding benefits from foreign currency exchange and acquisitions, the increase was a more modest 2%. North American retail sales grew 9%, with comparable store sales up 3%.

Penney’s 2Q Direct Up 7%
Plano, TX-based J.C. Penney Co. (NYSE: JCP) saw total second-quarter sales rise 5%, to $4.0 billion. Net income, meanwhile, soared from $1.0 million for the second quarter of 2004 to $131 million for the three months ended July 30. Catalog/Internet sales rose 7%, with Web sales up more than 30%. .

State Funding Rebounds Boosts School Specialty
Thanks to a more robust state funding environment for education, Greenville, WI-based School Specialty (Nasdaq: SCHS) reported a 6% increase in second-quarter revenue, to $358.0 million for the three months ended July 30.

Net income increased 8%, to $34.6 million. Excluding $2.7 million in acquisition-related costs, net income was $36.3 million for the quarter, a 13% increase from last year.

The b-to-b school supplies merchant, whose titles include Childcraft, Sax Arts and Crafts, Sportime, Teacher’s Video, and Califone, said the increase in revenue was due to internal growth of 5% augmented by acquired businesses.

Talbots 2Q Direct Sales Jump 16%
Hingham, MA-based cataloger/retailer The Talbots (NYSE: TLB) reported a 16% surge in second-quarter direct marketing sales, to $60.8 million for the three months ended July 30. Total net sales for the apparel merchant increased 12%, to $449.6 million, with retail sales up 11%. Comparable store sales rose 7%.

The top-line improvements didn’t translate to the bottom line, however: Net income dipped 3%, to $18.9 million.

Direct Sales Up 54% at Urban Outfitters
The quarter ended July 31 was another strong one for Philadelphia-based Urban Outfitters (NasdaqNM: URBN). The apparel and home décor cataloger/retailer, which includes Anthropologie and Free People as well as the namesake brand, enjoyed a 34% rise in second-quarter sales, to $253.4 million. Catalog and online sales climbed 54%, to $28.3 million, while comparable store sales rose 10%. Profit rose 49%, to $30.6 million.

2Q Income Tumble for Sport Supply
An 8% decline in second-quarter revenue contributed to a 52% drop in net income for Dallas-based Sport Supply Group (Pink Sheets: SSPY).

For the three months ended June 30, the b-to-b distributor of sporting goods netted $621,000 on sales of $23.2 million. For the second quarter of 2004, it had posted net income of $1.3 million on sales of $25.1 million.

Although selling, general and administrative expenses were down approximately $75,000 during the quarter ended June 30,,SSG incurred approximately $200,000 in incremental legal fees.

Sales Shrink—Ditto Net Loss–at MediaBay
On the surface, the numbers look grim for Cedar Knolls, NJ-based MediaBay (Nasdaq: MBAY). Second-quarter sales for the manufacturer/marketer of spoken-word tapes and CDs plummeted 53%, to $2.3 million for the three months ended June 30.

But on the plus side, the company shaved its net loss 129%, to $3.0 million from $7.1 million a year ago. What’s more, the company is in the midst of revamping its business model, becoming a marketer of Internet downloads rather than mail order hard goods. MediaBay relaunched its 12-year-old Audio Book Club with digital Website downloads and eliminated automatic shipments to customers.

“To accomplish this we have redesigned our systems and business processes, changed fulfillment vendors and warehouses, and implemented a just-in-time inventory system which will dramatically reduce our required working capital investment in inventory and significantly increase our CD and tape selection available to customers,” CEO Jeffrey Dittus said in a statement.

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