Financial Reports: Systemax, Spiegel, Sportsman’s Guide, and More

Systemax Sales, Earnings Plummet

Port Washington, NY—Annual net sales at computer, office supplies, and industrial supplies manufacturer/cataloger Systemax (NYSE: SYX) fell 4%, to $1.7 billion from $1.8 billion. Worse, the company posted a net loss of $40.8 million, compared to net income of $36 million in 1999. Fourth-quarter sales dropped 12%, to $421.5 million from $478.4 million the previous year, and it lost $9.5 million for the quarter, compared to net income of $10.7 million a year prior. The company blamed the downturn on “operating problems” within the former Midwest Micro Corp. division.

Spiegel’s Year-End Income Jumps 46%
Downers Grove, IL– The Spiegel Group, which includes the Eddie Bauer, Newport News, and Spiegel catalogs, (Nasdaq: SPGLA) reported a 46% jump in earnings, to $124.9 million, for its year ended Dec. 30. Annual sales rose 9%, to $3.06 billion. For fiscal 1999, Spiegel Group posted earnings of $85.3 million on sales of $2.91 billion. Annual catalog sales increased 3%, to $1.5 billion.
For the fourth quarter of 2000, catalog sales rose less than 1%, to $462.4 million from $459.9 million the previous fourth quarter. Net earnings fell 12%, to $65.4 million from $74.7 million.
Looking ahead, the company expects earnings for the first half of this year to be significantly less than last year’s. In the first and second quarters of 2000, the company reported earnings of $0.15 per share and $0.20 per share. Spiegel projects a loss of $0.09-$0.12 per share for the quarter ending March 31, and earnings of $0.02-$0.05 for the quarter ending June 30.

Sportsman’s Guide Ends 2000 in the Red
South St. Paul, MN–For the year ended Dec. 31, The Sportsman’s Guide (Nasdaq: SGDE) reported a net loss of $3.2 million on sales of $154.9 million. That’s down from 1999’s net income of $12,000 on sales of $188.1 million. The outdoor gear cataloger said the decline in sales resulted from a planned cut in circulation. In 2000 it mailed 60 million catalogs, compared to 80 million the previous year.
For the fourth quarter of 2000, the cataloger reported pretax operating earnings, less one-time charges, of nearly $1.4 million on sales of $59 million. After one-time charges of nearly $1.7 million, resulting from executive and employee severance and the closing of an outlet store closing, Sportsman’s Guide reported a net loss of $699,000. For the fourth quarter of 1999, it posted net income of $597,000 on sales of $65.7 million.

Vroom! Scooter Sales Spur Sharper Image Growth
San Francisco—Sales of its popular scooters led upscale gadgets and gifts cataloger/retailer Sharper Image (Nasdaq: SHRP) to a 38% hike in annual sales, to $421.0 million for the fiscal year ended Jan 31. Net earnings jumped 47%, to $17.4 million from $9.3 million a year earlier. Catalog sales grew 26%, from $76.1 million to $96.2 million, and Internet sales more than doubled, from $28.5 million to $60.2 million.

Martha Stewart Direct Sales Near $50 Million
New York—The Internet/direct commerce division of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (NYSE: MSO) reported a fourth-quarter loss of $8.5 million, compared to the $7.1 million loss for the fourth quarter of 1999. Increased circulation of the Martha by Mail print catalog and higher Website expenses were to blame. Still, total company revenue increased 21%, to $86 million for the quarter.
For the year ended Dec. 31, Internet/direct commerce revenue jumped 38%, to $49.7 million from $36.0 million. Total revenue—which includes sales from the publishing, television, and merchandising groups, was $285.8 million, up 23% from $232.3 million in ’99pro forma net income was $21.3 million, or $0.44 per share, up 82% from $11.7 million, or $0.24 per share, the previous year.

NM Direct 2Q Sales Up 9%
Chestnut Hill, MA—For its fiscal second quarter, ended Jan. 27, the NM Direct division of Neiman Marcus (NYSE:NMG/A) posted sales of $125.6 million. That’s up 9%, from $115.1 million, for the comparable period of the previous year. Strong sales from the Chef’s Catalog and Horchow titles partially offset weaker apparel sales. Total company sales for the quarter were $900.8 million, up $878.1 million last year. But net earnings for the quarter slipped to $39.9 million from $41.3 million last year.

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