Net sales up 16 percent for West Marine

WATSONVILLE, Calif. – Boating retailer West Marine, Inc. (Nasdaq: WMAR) reported net sales of $129.2 million for the quarter ended April 3, up 16.2 percent from $111.1 million during the same period in 2003, according to a press release from the company this morning.

Net loss for the quarter was $3.1 million or $0.15 per share, compared to a net loss of $6.1 million or $0.32 per share a year ago. Comparable store net sales for the first quarter increased 10.2 percent from 2003, West Marine said.

Comparable store sales by region for the first quarter were as follows: Northeast 20.6 percent, Southeast 5.8 percent, and West Coast 7.5 percent. Comparable store sales are defined as sales from stores that have been open at least 13 months and where selling square footage did not change by more than 40 percent in the previous 13 months, the retailer reported.

“The first quarter was a good start for us. Moreover, April sales have started off strongly, continuing the trend from the first quarter,” said John Edmondson, West Marine’s chief executive officer. “We now expect our comparable store sales for the second quarter to increase approximately 7 to 8 percent over last year, up from our previous estimate of 5 to 6 percent. As a result, we are raising our earnings guidance for the second quarter.”

Edmondson added that West Marine has adjusted its forecast for third quarter sales and earnings downward based on the expected impact of Independence Day sales events shifting from July last year into June this year.

“Overall, considering the strong first quarter results combined with increased expectations for the remaining year, we are increasing our 2004 earnings guidance to $1.45 to $1.50 per share,” he said.

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