Financial Reports

Net Loss Nearly Doubles at J. Crew

New York–Apparel cataloger/retailer J. Crew reported a first-quarter net loss of $9.3 million, nearly twice last year’s first-quarter loss of $5.2 million. Revenue for the quarter was $167.8 million, up less than 1% from $166.9 million a year earlier. But comparable-store revenue fell 11%, while catalog and Internet sales dropped 8%, from $60.2 million $55.7 million.

As for the four weeks ended June 2, J. Crew’s direct division took in $14.5 million is revenue, down 14% from $16.9 million the previous May. Catalog sales tumbled 27%, to $8 million from $11 million.

Neiman Marcus Warns of Lower Earnings

Chestnut Hill, MA–Lower revenue during the quarter and steep markdowns have forced upscale cataloger/retailer Neiman Marcus Group (NYSE: NMGa.N), whose titles include Chef’s Catalog and Horchow, to warn of a quarterly loss and full-year earnings below analysts’ expectations. Neiman Marcus said it expects to post a loss of $0.10-$0.15 a share for its fiscal fourth quarter, ending July 28. Wall Street had estimated a profit of $0.10 a share, according to analyst estimate tracking firm Thomson Financial/First Call. Neiman Marcus reported earnings of $0.21 a share for the previous fourth quarter.

Neiman Marcus also expects to post fiscal 2001 earnings of $2.50-$2.55 a share, short of the analysts’ estimate of $2.75 a share, according to First Call. In May, Neiman Marcus eliminated 190 full-time positions across all three of its business units and said it would take a one-time charge of $800,000 in the fourth quarter.

May Catalog Sales Down 14% at Penney

Plano, TX–J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP) reported a 14% decline in May catalog sales, to $220 million from $256 million last year. E-commerce sales, which are included in catalog sales, were $18 million, up from $14 million. Department store sales for May decreased 4.5 %, to $987 million.

Spiegel Group’s May Sales Down 5%

Downers Grove, IL–The Spiegel Group (Nasdaq: SPGLA) reported sales of $223.0 million for the four weeks ended May 26, a 5% decrease from sales of $234.7 million in May of last year. E-commerce sales jumped 66%, but catalog sales fell 14%. Breaking it down by division, Eddie Bauer sales declined 2%, Newport News sales fell 4%, and Spiegel sales decreased 11%.

Sharper Image Catalog Sales Increase 44% in May

San Francisco–Riding the wave of sales for its proprietary products, gadgets marketer Sharper Image (Nasdaq: SHRP) reported a 44% increase in May catalog sales, to $8.8 million from $6.2 million the previous May. Total sales for May grew 14%, to $23.9 million. Internet sales rose 5%, to $3.8 million for the month.

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Financial Reports

Disappointing Year for Lillian Vernon

Rye, NY—Nearly $2.1 million (pretax) in restructuring and severance charges and the one-time cumulative effect of adopting a different SEC accounting standard contributed to an annual net loss of $1.4 million for Lillian Vernon Corp. For the previous fiscal year, the multititle mailer posted net income of $6.3 million. The primary cause of the disappointing bottom line, according to the cataloger, was lower catalog response.

For the year ended Feb. 24, Lillian Vernon had net revenue of $287.1 million, up 2% from $281.0 million last year. The April 2000 acquisition of Rue de France, a cataloger of upscale home decor, accounted for most of the revenue increase. The company’s other titles include Lilly’s Kids, Lillian Vernon Gardening, and Personalized Gifts.

Hard Times for Kids Stuff

North Canton, OH—These are tough times for Kids Stuff (OTC Bulletin Board: KDST), which mails children’s apparel and safety products books Perfectly Safe, Natural Baby, and Little Feet. First, the company’s annual sales fell 5%, to $15.9 million for the year ended Dec. 31. Worse, Kids Stuff suffered a net loss of $3.4 million, compared with a gain of $48,059 for 1999.

Then, due to the company’s disappointing financial performance, CEO William L. Miller said in a statement, Kids Stuff “fell out of compliance with our bank agreement, and certain bank loans are now payable upon demand. The company requires immediate financing and is seeking an equity infusion.” Miller also added there’s no guarantee that Kids Stuff will be successful in obtaining capital.

Multiple Zones Has Profitable 1Q

Renton, WA—Buoyed by a 77% rise in outbound sales, computer reseller Multiple Zones (Nasdaq: MZON) posted first-quarter net revenue of $161.2 million, up 28% from $126.3 million for last year. The company’s Zones Business Solutions outbound sales division accounted for $131.0 million of that revenue. The cataloger, which targets primarily small and midsize businesses, also turned around last year’s first quarter net loss of $673,000. This year, Multiple Zones’ reported first-quarter net income of $104,000.

In other news, the company announced that as of May 10, the company’s name will be Zones, and its Nasdaq symbol will be ZONS.

Increased Spending, One-Time Charge Lead to Blair Red Ink

Warren, PA—Lower-than-expected response in the face of the slowing economy led multititle general merchandiser Blair Corp. (Amex: BL) to post first-quarter sales growth of just 2%. For the three months ended March 31, sales were $133.1 million, compared with $130.1 million for the comparable period of 2000. At the same time, a one-time $2.5 million cost associated with the relocation of its returns operation and the gradual outsourcing of its mailing operations contributed to a loss of $231,946 for the quarter, compared to net income of $6.9 million for the first quarter of last year. Without the charge, Blair would have netted $1.2 million. Increased e-commerce spending and costs related to its recently launched Crossing Pointe and Scandia Woods catalogs also ate into the bottom line.

Sales Coming Up Roses for 1-800-Flowers

Westbury, NY–1-800-Flowers.com (Nasdaq: FLWS) translated a happy Valentine’s Day into 23% sales growth for its fiscal third quarter. For the three months ended April 1, the multichannel marketer of flowers and gifts had revenue of $103.2 million, compared with $83.8 million for the comparable quarter of last year. Online revenue increased 59%, to $47.1 million. The company, which includes the Plow & Hearth catalog of products for “country living,” credits the growth to strong Valentine’s Day sales and the expansion of its non-floral merchandise offerings. The company also slashed its net loss by more than half, to $8.5 million from $19.3 million a year ago.

Double-Digit Income, Sales Growth for J. Jill

Quincy, MA—Women’s apparel cataloger/retailer J. Jill Group (Nasdaq: JILL) doesn’t seem to feeling the economic pinch yet. Its first-quarter sales rose 30%, while net income grew 47%. For the three months ended March 31, J. Jill posted net income of $796,000 on net sales of $63.3 million. For the first quarter of 2000, net income was $541,000 on net sales of $48.6 million. The company’s catalog and Internet sales rose nearly 11%, to $53.0 million from $46.9 million.

NBTY Reports Healthy Gains

Bohemia NY–Nutritional vitamin supplements marketer NBTY (Nasdaq: NBTY) reported a 12% increase in net sales for its fiscal second quarter. For the three months ended March 31, sales were $225 million, up from $200 million a year ago. Net income was flat at $18 million. But second-quarter revenue from NBTY’s Puritan’s Pride catalog and Web business decreased 8%, to $58 million. NBTY credited more efficient-marketing and mailings for keeping the catalog’s operating income steady.

Martha Stewart 1Q Direct Sales Down 11%

New York—Even Martha Stewart isn’t immune to dip in consumer spending. First-quarter Internet and catalog sales at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (NYSE: MSO) were down 11% from last year, to $9.5 million from $10.6 million. Don’t cry for the doyenne of domesticity, though. Total first-quarter revenue for her company, which includes the “Martha Stewart Living” magazine and the Martha Stewart Everyday Housewares product line, rose 3%, to $71.2 million. Net income climbed 11%, to $6.2 million. EBITDA for the Internet/Direct Commerce division improved 6%, to a loss of $5.6 million from a loss of $6.0 million for the first quarter of 2000.

Belt-Tightening at iGo Reduces Net Loss 32%

Reno, NV–It looks like the belt tightening at mobile and wireless accessories cataloger iGo (Nasdaq: IGOC) has begun to pay off. The cataloger/Web marketer cut its first-quarter loss 32%, posting a loss of $5.6 million for the three months ended March 31, from a loss of $8.2 million a year ago. The company attributes the improved bottom line largely to marketing efficiencies and reduced merchandising expenses. IGo also reported a 27% increase in first-quarter revenue, to $9.6 million from $7.6 million.

HBIO Reports 22% Revenue Growth

Holliston, MA–Harvard Bioscience (Nasdaq: HBIO), a manufacturer/marketer of pharmaceutical and biotechnology research tools, reported a 22% increase in first-quarter revenue, to $8.6 million from $7.0 million last year. The company also improved its bottom line, reporting $272,000 in net income compared with a loss of $4.4 million last year.

In other Harvard Bioscience news, on May 1 the company announced the acquisition of Warner Instruments Corp., a Hamden, CT-based manufacturer/marketer of products for cell and tissue research. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Loss, Sales Down at Geerlings & Wade

Canton, MA—Wine marketer Geerlings & Wade (Nasdaq: GEER) cut its first-quarter net loss to $174,000 from $413,000 last year. At the same time, though, net sales for the three months ended March 31 were $7.2 million, down 15% from $8.5 million the previous first quarter. The company attributed much of the sales decline to reduced circulation, especially to prospects, as part of a strategy to return to profitability.

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Financial Reports

Downers Grove, IL–It’s been a lackluster spring for the Spiegel Group (Nasdaq:SPGLA), which mails the Eddie Bauer,, Newport News, and Spiegel catalogs. The general merchandise giant reported a net loss of $12.2 million for its quarter ended March 31, compared to earning $20.2 million last year at the same time.

Total revenue for the quarter declined 3%, to $749.6 million reflecting a 3% decrease in net sales and a 10% decrease in finance revenue. Net sales for the quarter included a 2% decline in direct sales, which include a 13% decrease in catalog sales, to $290.3 million, from $332.7 million in the same period last year. Web sales jumped 94%, to $70.7 million, from $36.3 million last year. Retail store sales dipped 3%, to $250.7 million, from $258.4 million last year. In addition, revenue from company credit cards fell 34% while revenue from Visa and MasterCard transactions rose 24%.

Breaking it down by division, total sales at Eddie Bauer were off 4%, to $332.9 million, from $345.0 million last quarter. Spiegel’s net sales decreased 9%, to $157.4 million from $173.1 million in the year-ago quarter. But Newport News, the jewel in Spiegel’s catalog crown, gained 11%, to $121.4 million, from total sales of $109.4 million last quarter.

The revenue and earnings shortfall came as no surprise to Spiegel. “We experienced higher charge-offs in our credit card businesses and customer response in each of our merchant companies was relatively weak. Clearly, the economy has negatively affected consumer behavior and our financial results.” said James W. Sievers, office of the president and chief financial officer of The Spiegel Group, in a statement.

In other company news, Spiegel announced it was teaming with parent Otto Versand to provide third party logistics services with the creation of a new joint venture, Spiegel-Hermes General Service. Hamburg, Germany-based Hermes General Service is part of Otto Versand. Spiegel-Hermes will provide distribution and fulfillment services, returns processing and liquidation services, call center services and credit card services.

Delray Beach, FL–Weak sales of computer hardware, software and related items hampered quarterly results of office products cataloger/retailer Office Depot (NYSE:ODP) who reported that net income for the quarter fell 48%, to $56.3 million, compared with $109 million in the year ago quarter. Sales for the quarter fell 2%, to $3 billion, from $3.1 billion in the year-ago quarter.

Office Depot, which includes the Viking Office Products catalog business, said the decline in profits was due mainly to weak North American same-store sales — sales at stores open at least one year — and lower gross margins on its planned reduction in the variation of products SKUs. “We substantially completed our SKU reduction program, but used more promotional pricing than planned to expedite the process,” said CEO Bruce Nelson in a statement. “As a result, retail gross margins were negatively impacted.”

Merrimack, NH–The weak demand that computer reseller PC Connection (NASDAQ: PCCC), experienced in the fourth quarter last year followed it into the first three months of this year. Net sales for the three months ended March 31 decreased 10%, to $301.8 million, compared to $333.8 million in last year’s first quarter.

Including the one-time $851,000 charge related to reductions in nonsales staffing designed to bring operating costs in line with current demand levels, net income was $2.4 million, compared to net income of $7.1 million last year. Internet sales processed directly online during the quarter increased 13%, to $28.4 million, compared to $25.1 million a year ago. CEO Patricia Gallup attributed the weakness to overall conservative buying patterns, order deferrals and longer sales cycles. “Customers are taking a wait-and-see attitude toward IT spending as they try to determine what their own demand, technology budgets and staffing levels will be for the year,” Gallup said in a statement.

Groton, MA–Business-to-business forms and uniforms mailer New England Business Service (NYSE: NEB) cited weak economic conditions across all its channels as the chief culprit for its 53% decline in net income. Earnings tumbled to $3.5 million for the quarter ended March 24, compared to $7.5 million in the year ago period. Revenues grew 5%, to $123.2 million, from the prior year’s $117.4 million, paced by the July 2000 acquisition of PremiumWear, a b-to-b marketer of uniforms.

New York–Upscale apparel and accessories cataloger/retailer Coach, (NYSE: COH) reported a 163% increase in net income to $8 million for its quarter ended March 31. (This figure includes the impact of a charge taken in the first fiscal quarter.) Net sales increased 13%, to $130.6 million. Direct-to-consumer sales, which consist primarily of sales at Coach stores, rose 16%, to $77 million during the third quarter from $66.4 million in the comparable period of the prior year.

South Easton, MA–Women’s wigs and hairpiece marketer Specialty Catalog Corp. (Nasdaq: CTLG), said net income totaled $393,502 for its quarter ended March 31, compared with a net loss of $39,629 in the year ago quarter. Total net sales increased 3%, to $16.5 million for the quarter ended March 31, compared to net sales of 16.1 million last year. Specialty Catalog attributes the increases to reduced operating expenses and improvements in merchandise return rates in its Paula Young business.

Vernon Hills, IL–CDW Computer Centers (Nasdaq: CDWC) reported that net sales for the quarter ended March 31, increased 14%, to $987.2 million from $864.0 million in the same period of 2000. Net income rose 15%, to $40.5 million, from $35.3 million in the first quarter of 2000. Direct Web sales skyrocketed 108%, to $151 million.

Dallas–Equipment marketer Collegiate Pacific (AMEX: BOO) record reported results for its third quarter ended March 31. Revenue increased 11%, to $3.8 million, from revenue of $3.4 million for the quarter last year. Net income soared 88%, to $167,901 from net income of $20,834 last year.

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Financial Reports

Web Grows, Catalog Slows at J. Crew

New York—Apparel cataloger/retailer J. Crew enjoyed a 10% rise in annual revenue, to $826.0 million for the year ended Feb. 3. But within the direct division, which consists of the print on online catalogs, sales rose just 2%, to $284.8 million. Web sales more than compensated for a decline in mail order revenue, increasing 65%, to $107.2 for the year. The company plans to continue to try driving customers from the call centers to the Web.

MSC Industrial Direct Gains Sales and Income for Quarter

Melville, NY–Industrial supplies cataloger MSC Industrial Direct (NYSE: MSM) reported net sales of $211.5 million for the quarter ended Feb. 24, up 7% from $198.2 million for the comparable quarter of last year. Net income increased more than 5%, to $14.4 million from $13.6 million one year prior. Accordng to a statement released by the company, Mitchell Jacobson, chairman/CEO, commented, “We have been able to capitalize on this economic weakness and the adverse effects on our customers by aggressively growing our sales force and expanding our prospecting for new customers.”

Franklin Covey Reports a Loss

Salt Lake City–Franklin Covey (NYSE: FC) reported an $800,000 net loss for the quarter ended Feb. 24. That compares unfavorably to the earnings of $2.8 million for the same quarter of the prior year. Secnd-quarter sales for the manufacturer/marketer of organizational and productivity tools decreased 11%, to $133.4 million from $149.4 million last year. Direct sales, which include catalog and the Web, fell 5%, to $28.3 million from $29.9.

Hydron Technologies Narrows Quarter, Annual Loss

Boca Raton, FL Hydron Technologies (OTC Bulletin Board: HTEC), a manufacturer/marketer of personal-care products, reduced its annual net loss from $2.9 million in 1999 to $923,632 for 2000. The bottom-line improvement came despite a 20% plummet in net sales, from $2.6 million to $2.0 million Hydron attributes weaker revenue to disappointing sales of its skincare products on the Home Shopping Network. Fortunately for the company, annual sales from Hydron’s catalog grew 25%.

March Overall Sales Down, Catalog Sales Up at Neiman-Marcus

Chestnut Hill, MA—Upscale apparel and home decor marketer The Neiman Marcus Group (NYSE: NMG.A), which includes the Horchow and Neiman Marcus catalogs, reported a nearly 4% drop in March sales, to $254.8 million from $264.2 million last year. But during the five-week period ending March 31, the company’s catalog division reported a nearly 10% rise in revenue compared with the previous March.

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Financial Reports

SkyMall Narrows Annual Net Loss

Phoenix—Co-op multichannel marketer SkyMall (Nasdaq: SKYM) cut its annual net loss by more than $8 million, from $24.1 million in 1999 to $16 million in 2000. Annual revenue increased 4%, to $82.1 million for the year ended Dec. 31 from $78.9 million in ’99. SkyMall credits the improving bottom line to a focus on reducing costs and improving gross margins.

Annual Losses Widen for iParty

Boston–Multichannel party supplies marketer iParty (AMEX: IPT) posted consolidated revenue for the year ended Dec. 30 of $18.6 million, compared with $138,545 for fiscal 1999. The annual net loss almost doubled, however, $20.9 million from $11.2 million.

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Streamlining Unified Commerce Complexity - NetSuite
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Build the Foundation for Great Customer Experiences - NetSuite
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Strategies for Maximizing Mobile Point-of-Sale Technology - NetSuite
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Financial Reports

Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Blames Catalog Shortfall on Web Cannibalization
Hampstead, MD-Mens’ apparel cataloger/retailer
Jos. A. Bank (Nasdaq: JOSB) says for the year ended Feb. 3, 2001, net income was $5 million compared to recurring income of $3.3 million for the year ended Jan. 29, 2000. Annual sales increased 6.6%, to $206.3 million, compared to $193.5 million in 1999. For the same period, comparable store sales increased 6.8%.

But while Internet sales increased 188%, catalog sales decreased 11.7%, which Jos. A Bank blames on cannibalization from the Internet. For the fourth quarter ended Feb. 3, total sales increased 14.5%, to $71 million, compared to $62 million in 1999. For the same period, comparable store sales increased 14.6%, Internet sales increased 157% and catalog sales decreased 14.1%.

Quarterly Earnings Up 12% at Lands’ End
Dodgeville, WI-Apparel giant Lands’ End (NYSE: LE) reported that total sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2001 were $538.6 million, up 11.5% from $483.1 million in the prior year. Net income for the quarter increased 12.3%, to $31.8 million, from $28.3 million a year ago. Annual sales increased 3.2%, to $1.462 billion from $1.417 billion in the prior year. Net income for the year was $34.7 million, down 27.8% from the $48 million earned in fiscal 2000.

Lands’ End says growth in its core business segment was led by the coed division, which grew by 23% in the fourth quarter and 16% for the year. It’s no surprise that Lands’ End Corporate Sales, which has had double-digit increases throughout the year and had sales of $170 million in fiscal 2001, was the strongest performer. During the fourth quarter, the Kids division had a low double-digit sales increase, and linens title Coming Home posted mid single digit sales growth, although both those business had a slow start in the beginning of the year. Sales in Germany and the U.K. improved in the fourth quarter, though overall performance in the international business segment was weak, mainly due to soft sales in Japan and currency issues.

Internet, Quill Catalog Strong for Staples
Framingham, MA-Office supplies cataloger Staples,/b>, (Nasdaq: SPLS) which mails the catalog, had sales of $10.7 billion in fiscal year 2000, up 19% from $8.9 million in fiscal 1999. The company’s net income was $59.7 million, down from $315 million, a drop Staples attributed to one-time charges.

While the company did not break out its sales among all channels, it noted that comparable sales among its retail stores grew 4%, while revenue at its online arm, Staples.com, grew by more than 500%, and its Quill catalog business had double-digit growth.

Gaiam Operating Income Doubles
Broomfield, CO-Gaiam (Nasdaq: GAIA) reported that annual sales for the period ending Dec. 31, increased 33%, to $60.6 million, from $45.7 million in the same period of 1999. For the fourth quarter ending Dec. 31, sales increased to $23 million from $17.9 million in the quarter last year.

Operating income for 2000 increased 108%, to $4.4 million, from $2.1 million during 1999. Operating income for the fourth quarter increased to $2.7 million, up from $1.9 million for the same period of 1999.

Gaiam is consolidating a majority of Real Goods’ operations, which it acquired on Jan. 29, into Gaiam’s established infrastructure. With the costs of consolidation, including the closing of parts of operations, and the expected cost savings of the combined operations, the transaction is expected to contribute approximately $10 million to 2001 revenue; it will be neutral to Gaiam’s 2001 earnings per share and accretive in 2002.

Proceeds from Land Deal Rescue Concepts Direct
Longmont, CO-Personalized paper and gifts marketer Concepts Direct, which mails the Colorful Images, Linda Anderson, Linda Anderson Collectibles, Snoopy, and The Music Stand catalogs, (Nasdaq: CDIR) posted net income of $3.7 million for the quarter compared to net loss of $1.7 million in the same period of 1999. During the fourth quarter, Concepts Direct recorded a one-time net income gain of $2.4 million from the sale of surplus land adjoining its Longmont facility. Sales for the quarter ended Dec. 31, decreased 2%, to $20.1 million, from sales of $20.6 for the same period in 1999. Concepts Direct says sales were off slightly vs. the prior year because it reduced catalog circulation for the Linda Anderson and Collectibles brands.

For the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, sales were $55.4 million, unchanged from fiscal 1999 sales of $55.4 million. Concepts Direct reported a net loss of $2.7 million for the fiscal year, compared to a net loss of $3.6 million for the same period in 1999.

Schein Reports 43% Increase in Fourth Quarter Earnings
Melville, NY-Medical and dental supplier Henry Schein (Nasdaq: HSIC), reported for the three months ended Dec. 30, that net income in the fourth quarter rose 43%, to $22.2 million, compared with adjusted net income of $15.5 million, in the fourth quarter of 1999. Net sales increased by 7.5% to $656 million, from $610 million in the fourth quarter of last year. For the year ended Dec. 30, Henry Schein reported net sales of $2.4 billion, up 4%, over 1999. Net income for the year increased 17%, to $70.1 million.

According to Schein, cash flow from operations increased to $68 million during the quarter, while the company also paid down an additional $32 million in debt. For the full year 2000, cash flow from operations was $153 million, and it paid down approximately $89 million in debt.

“We expect full-year 2001 earnings per share growth rates to be in the mid teens. We look for these year-over-year growth rates to accelerate each quarter during the year, building on first quarter EPS growth of approximately 10% to 12%,” said CEO Stanley M. Bergman in a statement.

Venator Group Reports Fourth Quarter Results
New York–Venator Group (NYSE:Z), which owns retailers the Foot Locker and Champs, said on Feb. 7 its fiscal fourth-quarter profits rose to beat analysts’ expectations.

As a result of the success of Foot Locker and the company’s divestiture of some of its noncore business units, such as the Northern Group, Venator said it expects to report adjusted earnings per share of 20 cents to 22 cents for the first quarter and 90 cents to 94 cents for the current fiscal year. Venator said adjusted operating income for the quarter ended Feb. 3 jumped to $37 million from $3 million a year earlier.

In addition, the company plans to increase its direct-to-consumer business, generate positive cash flow to further strengthen its financial position, and complete the divestiture of its nonathletic businesses. For the latest year, Venator said its e-commerce operations achieved $45 million in sales and were profitable. The company said it plans to boost its capital expenditure program to about $150 million this year from about $100 million last year. During the fourth quarter, Venator closed 43 stores, 13 of which were shuttered as a part of its 1999 restructuring program. Results exclude Northern Group, a noncore business that the company said earlier this year that it plans to sell. Divesting the casual apparel unit, whose sales were disappointing, would allow Venator to focus on its growing athletic business. Adjusted sales for the quarter rose 14%, to $1.2 billion from $1.028 billion a year earlier, while comparable stores sales were up 9.3%.

Target Corp. Reports Fourth Quarter Earnings
Minneapolis-Retailer Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT), reported that fourth-quarter net earnings increased 5.9% to $552 million, compared with $522 million in 1999.

For the year, net earnings were $1.264 billion, up 6.7% compared with $1.185 billion. For fiscal 2000, a 53-week year, total revenues increased 9.5 % to $36.903 billion from $33.702 billion in 1999, a 52-week period. For the 14-week quarter, revenue increased 12.8%, to $12.324 billion from $10.930 billion in the same period last year. Thirteen-week comparable-store sales for fourth quarter 2000 increased 1.8%.

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3 Critical Components to Achieving the Perfect Order - NetSuite
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Streamlining Unified Commerce Complexity - NetSuite
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Build the Foundation for Great Customer Experiences - NetSuite
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Strategies for Maximizing Mobile Point-of-Sale Technology - NetSuite
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Financial Reports

J. Jill’s Back in the Black

Quincy, MA–Women’s apparel marketer J. Jill (Nasdaq: Jill) returned to profitability for its quarter and year-end results. Net income for the period ended Dec. 30 totaled $6.7 million versus a net loss of $1.5 million last year. Net sales for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 30, increased 44%, to $88.4 million, from $61.2 million reported in the prior year. The company attributes this primarily to increased productivity per catalog mailed.

As for the fiscal year ended Dec. 30, J. Jill’s net sales decreased 2%, to $246.3 million compared to $250.3 million in the prior year. However, net income for the year was $12.8 million versus a loss of $684,000 last year. Additionally, Jill’s selling, general and administrative (SGA) expenses declined from 34.4% to 22.4% as a percentage of net sales.

Playboy Set to Sell Collectors Choice, Announces Results

Chicago–Playboy Enterprises reported a net loss of $8 million, for the quarter ended Dec. 31, a huge drop from net income of over $200,000 for the same period a year earlier. Fourth quarter revenue declined 14%, to $79.5 million from $92.4 million in last year’s fourth quarter, which Playboy attributed to the October 2000 sale of its Critics’ Choice Video catalog.

For the quarter, Playboy’s catalog division reported earnings before income, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) of $300,000, down from $1.6 million in the prior year’s quarter. Revenue fell to $4.2 million from $16.5 million in the 1999 fourth quarter. The company said it is in the process of selling its Collectors’ Choice Music catalog.

Fingerhut Catalog Drags on Federated Earnings

Cincinnati—The bad news continues at Federated as it tries to fix the credit problems at troubled catalog subsidiary Fingerhut. For the 14-week fourth quarter ended Feb. 3, Federated Department Stores (NYSE: FD), which mails the Fingerhut, Macy’s By Mail and Bloomingdale’s By Mail catalogs, direct-to-customer sales, which include catalog and Internet, fell 26%, to $575 million, from $775 million during the 13-week fourth quarter of 1999. The company attributes the drop-off to weak sales resulting in inventory liquidations at the Bloomingdale’s By Mail catalog, as well as the downsizing at Fingerhut. Total Federated net income for the quarter fell 26%, to $332 million, from $448 million a year ago. Sales in the quarter rose to $6.12 billion from $5.97 billion a year ago.

Fiscal Year Earnings Tumble at Nordstrom

Seattle–Cataloger/retailer Nordstrom (NYSE: JWN) reported net sales for fiscal 2000 increased 7.4%, to $5.5 billion, compared to net sales of $5.1 billion last year. Net earnings tumbled 50%, to $101.9 million from 202.5 million in fiscal 1999. Nordstrom says that its Fiscal 2000 results were reduced approximately $56 million in non-recurring charges related to write-offs of an investment in Streamline.com, an internet grocery and consumer goods delivery company, and technology investments.

Fourth quarter net income decreased 60%, to $27 million, compared to $66.5 million in the fourth quarter of 1999. Total company sales in the quarter were $1.7 billion, compared to $1.5 billion in the year ago quarter.

As for Nordstrom.com, which includes the Internet and catalog businesses, fourth quarter sales were $87.5 million compared to sales of $77.3 million last year. Nordstrom’s pre-tax operating loss was $4.7 million compared to $15.2 million in the year-ago quarter. Fiscal 2000 sales for Nordstrom.com were $310.6 million, compared to sales of $235 million last year. The pre-tax operating loss was $29.4 million compared to $35.7 million for 1999.

Penney’s Quarterly Catalog Sales Off 3%

Plano, TX–Troubled cataloger/retailer J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP) reported a fiscal fourth-quarter net loss of $284 million for the quarter ended Jan. 27, primarily to store closings and inventory write downs. In the year-ago quarter, Penney’s suffered a loss of $12 million.

Catalog sales for the quarter ended Jan. 27, fell 3%, to $5.92 billion, from $6.2 billion. J.C. Penney said in a statement it will take at least two to five years to restore profitability to competitive levels.

The latest quarter included a $285 million pretax charge for closing 47 underperforming Penney department stores and outlet centers, consolidating Eckerd drugstore regional offices and reducing the company’s work force. The company also took a $135 million charge related to inventory reduction at the department stores and Eckerd. Revenue fell to $9.75 billion from the year-earlier $9.83 billion.

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Financial Reports

Annual Sales, Income Up and Up for Blair

Warren, PA-Multititle mailer Blair Corp. (Nasdaq BL) posted a 10% jump in annual sales and a 38% leap in annual net income. For the year ended Dec. 31, net sales were $574 million, from $522 million last year. Net income for the year rose 38%, to $21.1 million from $15.3 million last year. Blair attributes the improved earnings to lower return levels and reduced liquidation costs.

Federated’s 4Q Direct Sales Down 26%
Cincinnati–Federated Department Stores (NYSE: F-D), which includes the catalog and Internet units of Fingerhut, Bloomingdale’s by Mail, and Macy’s by Mail, reported fourth-quarter sales of $6.112 billion, up 2.3% increase over sales of $5.973 billion for the previous fourth quarter.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that, for one thing, this most recent fourth quarter consisted of 14 weeks, compared to 13 weeks last year, thereby accounting for the rise in sales, and then some.

What’s more, fourth-quarter sales at Federated’s direct-to-customer business, including the catalogs, plummeted 26%, to $571 million from $775 million last year. Spokesperson Carole Sanger blames the decrease on Fingerhut’s circulation cuts, part of its attempt to improve the bottom line.

Federated’s total sales for fiscal 2000 were $18.4 billion, a 3.9% increase from $17.7 billion for 1999. Direct-to-customer sales for the year rose nearly 4% as well, from $1.866 billion to $1.937 billion.

Moore Medical Reports Year-End and Fourth Quarter
New Britain, CT–Medical supplies marketer Moore Medical Corp. (Amex: MMD) enjoyed a 4% rise in annual revenue, to $123.6 million from $118.5 million in 1999. But the b-to-b cataloger posted an annual net loss of $4.5 million, or $1.49 loss per share, compared with net income of $1.9 million, or $0.63 per share, for the previous 1999. Moore blames the loss on a one-time charge of $2.5 million, related to a settlement with the U.S. government in the fourth quarter.

On Feb. 1, Moore signed an agreement with the federal government settling a pricing error by its former wholesale division under federal supply contracts entered into in 1991. In 1997, the company had voluntarily disclosed the error to the government and established a $3.8 million reserve for 1996. In settlement, Moore agreed to pay the government a total of $5.2 million, including $500,000 on signing, and $4.7 million over five years. In the fourth quarter of 2000, it recorded an additional $2.5 million reserve for the liability and associated legal costs.

Guitar Center Makes Beautiful Music in Web, Catalogs
Agoura Hills, CA–Guitar Center (Nasdaq: GTRC) enjoyed a nearly 30% jump in pro forma fourth-quarter net income, to $10.0 million. Net sales for the quarter increased 25%, to $240 million. As for Guitar Center’s direct division, which include catalogs and Internet, sales increased 45%, to $42.7 million from $29.4 million in the same period in 1999. Web sales alone jumped 121%, while catalog sales grew 17%. What’s more, gross margins for the direct division was 32.7% compared to 29.8% in the fourth quarter of 1999, beating expectations.

Total pro forma net income for the year ended Dec. 31 was $22.5 million, up 50% from $15.0 million in 1999. Annual net sales increased nearly 27%, to $786.0 million.

Geerlings & Wade Back in Black
Canton, MA–Wine cataloger Geerlings & Wade (Nasdaq: GEER) returned to profitability, at least for the fourth quarter. For the 13 weeks ended Dec 31, Geerlings & Wade posted net income of $509,000, compared to a net loss of $1.2 million for the fourth quarter of 1999. Net sales for the quarter decreased 8%, to $12 million.

For the year, Geerlings & Wade reported a net loss of $471,000 on sales of $37.1 million. In 1999, Geerlings & Wade lost $1.5 million on sales of $38.9 million.

School Specialty’s 3Q Net Loss Increases
Appleton, WI–B-to-b school supplies School Specialty (Nasdaq: SCHS) reported a third-quarter net loss of $4.8 million, compared to last year’s third-quarter net loss of $3.0 million. Sales rose 8%, to $104.7 million from $97.2 million. They results reflect the November acquisition of competing cataloger J.L. Hammett.

Earlier this month, School Specialty announced plans to sell its Smartstuff Software division to Riverdeep Group for about $9.5 million. The transaction is expected to close in February. The companies also signed a three-year distribution agreement whereby Riverdeep will provide Web-based learning solutions to be featured in School Specialty’s curriculum-specific catalogs and sold by its 350-person sales force.

Collegiate Pacific Lessens Quarterly Loss
Dallas–Business-to-business sports equipment manufacturer/cataloger Collegiate Pacific (Amex: BOO) reported a 28% rise in revenue for the quarter ended Dec. 31, to $2.2 million from $1.6 million the previous year. Collegiate Pacific also shaved its quarterly net loss to $353,835 from $367,386.

J. Crew Reports Quarter and Year-End Sales New York–Apparel cataloger/retailer J. Crew reported that total sales for its fourth quarter ended Feb. 3 were $274.3 million, up 10% from $250.5 million for the fourth quarter of last year. For the 53 weeks ended Feb. 3, total sales were $790.7 million, up 10% from $716.6 million for the 52 weeks ended Jan. 29, 2000. The opening of 24 new stores during 2000 accounted for much of the revenue boost. Annual catalog sales dropped nearly 17%, from $213.3 million to $177.5 million. Internet sales, however, jumped 39%, to $107.3 million from $65.2 million.

Catalogs Sales Up at Successories
Aurora, IL–Motivational products manufacturer/marketer Successories (Nasdaq SCES) reported annual sales of $52.0 million for the fiscal year ended Feb. 3, up slightly from $51.7 million for fiscal 1999. Direct marketing sales jumped 16%, from $28.8 million to $33.6 million.

Transmation Erases 3Q Loss
Rochester, NY–Test, measurement, and calibration instrumentation marketer Transmation (Nasdaq: TRNS) posted net income of $84,692 for its fiscal third quarter, ended Dec. 31, compared to a net loss of $3.0 million for the previous third quarter. Net sales for the quarter were $19.4 million, up slightly from $19.3 million the previous year. The company credits a reorganized sales force, targeted marketing efforts, continued cost containment, an enhanced inventory management system and a reduced investment in its MetersandInstruments.com operation for putting it back into the black.

Yearly Catalog Sales Increase 26% at Sharper Image San Francisco–Gadgets marketer Sharper Image (Nasdaq: SHRP) reported a 24% rise in fourth-quarter sales, to $170.3 million. Annual sales rose an even more impressive 39%, to $405.9 million from $293 million. For the quarter ended Jan. 31, catalog sales were $43 million, up 20% from $35.9 million. Quarterly Web sales increased 66%, to $27.5 million from $16.6 million.

For fiscal 2000, catalog sales were $96.2 million, up 20% from $76.1 million in 1999. Web sales for the year totaled $60.2 million, jumping 111% from $28.5 million in ’99.

Coldwater Cuts 4Q Estimates
Sandpoint, ID–Women’s apparel cataloger/retailer Coldwater Creek sharply reduced its fourth-quarter estimates, citing significant sales shortfalls. The company expects fourth-quarter net earnings of $0.04-$0.07 per diluted share, compared with $0.56 per diluted share for the fourth quarter of 1999. The company blames sales shortfalls in full-price merchandise throughout January and continuing into February for the lowered expectations.

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