Martha’s Messy Balance Sheet

New York–Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, (NYSE: MSO), which mails the Martha by Mail catalog, reported lower sales and earnings in its Web/Direct business. Revenue in the direct segment, which includes the catalog, fell 18%, to $7.8 million, compared with $9.5 million in revenue last year.

Quarterly earnings before interest taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) loss of $8.1 million. A year ago, Martha reported an EBITDA loss of $5.6 million. The company blamed the shortfall on reduced catalog circulation and losses associated with its March 2001 acquisition of online wedding gift registry The Wedding List, as well as severance costs associated with staff reduction during the quarter.

The direct division’s lower sales and earnings translated to corporate. Total company revenue totaled $68.7 million, compared to $70.3 million in the prior year’s quarter, EBITDA fell 38%, to $7.5 million, compared to $12.1 million last year.

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