Second Quarter Sales Trickling In

Stamford, CT—Though few catalogers are reporting gangbuster sales most marketers reported slight increases for the quarter, or in the case of Hingham, MA-based women’s apparel cataloger/retailer The Talbots (NYSE: TLB) the month of July. Talbots posted an 8% sales increase for the four week period ended August 4, to $384.3 million, from $356.5 million last year. Catalog sales increased 5%, to $49.8 million, from $47.3 million in the same period last year. Retail sales were up 8%, to $334.5 million from $309.2 million last year.

San Francisco-based gadgets marketer Sharper Image (Nasdaq: SHRP) reported that catalog sales for the period ended July 31 increased a whopping 40%, to $21.8 million, over $15.6 million last year. Web sales decreased 7%, to $9.9 million, from $10.6 million in sales for the period last year. Total company sales increased 1%, to $80.2 million, from $79.5 million last year. Total store sales decreased 9%, to $48.5 million from $53.3 million.

Meanwhile Corte Madera, CA-based cataloger/retailer Restoration Hardware (Nasdaq: RSTO) posted a 4% net sales increase for the quarter ended Aug. 4, to $74.8 million, from $72.2 million for the same period a year ago. Sales for the direct-to-customer division, which includes catalog and Web sales, increased 71.6% in the second quarter of 2001 compared to the same period last year.

On the downside, troubled Plano, TX-based catalog/retail giant J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP) reported that catalog sales for the quarter ended July 28, tumbled 23%, to $687 million, from $896 million last year. But total company sales were flat at $7.2 billion, compared to the same period last year. Web sales, which are included in catalog sales, totaled $18 million for the month of July, compared to $15 million in last year’s respective periods. Penney will report full results on August 14.

As far as sales and profits are concerned, Port Washington, NY-based PC reseller Systemax (NYSE: SYX) posted net sales for the quarter ended June 30 of $364 million, compared to $406 million, a 11% decrease from the year-ago quarter. The company lost $2.6 million, compared to a net loss in last year’s second quarter of $14.5 million. Last year’s results included non-recurring after tax charges of $12.5 million relating to inventory at Systemax’s PC manufacturing facility.

Monterey, CA-based Educational products marketer LearningStar Corp. (NASDAQSC: LRNS) said consolidated revenue increased 4%, to $19.2 million, from consolidated revenue of $18.5 million from last year. On a GAAP basis, the net loss was $4.2 million, compared with a net loss of $793,000 last year. The company attributes the increased loss to the addition of the SmarterKids division on April 30. For SmarterKids, the consumer division of LearningStar Corp., revenue was $442,000 and an adjusted EBITDA loss of $1.3 million. For Discount School Supply, the educational supplies division, second quarter revenue was $14.3 million, a 16% increase over the $12.4 million generated in the second quarter of 2000. Adjusted EBITDA income for the quarter was $363,000 compared to income of $594,000 in the second quarter of 2000.

And Cedar Knolls, NJ-based audiocassette cataloger MediaBay (Nasdaq: MBAY), lessened its net loss for the quarter June 30 by $3.3 million, from $5.3 million last year to $2.0 million. The loss includes noncash depreciation and amortization of $1.5 million and other noncash expenses, principally the excess of amortization of deferred advertising costs over amounts expended of $1.6 million. Sales declined 13%, to $14.0 million from $16.2 million last year.

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