Dickie Walker’s future in jeopardy?

OCEANSIDE, Calif. - Dickie Walker Marine, Inc., a designer and marketer of nautically-inspired apparel, gifts and decorative items, has reported net sales for the year ended Sept. 30 of $4,465,000, a decrease of 1 percent from the prior year.

The decrease was largely the result of ending the company's relationship with West Marine Products as a private label manufacturer, Dickie Walker stated in a press release yesterday.

Sales to West Marine in fiscal 2004 decreased by 17 percent from the prior year. This decrease was offset by an increase of approximately 97 percent in the Dickie Walker wholesale line and an increase in retail and direct business of 34 percent over the prior year. Net loss for the year was $1,273,000 or $0.33 per share, compared to a net loss of $1,689,000 or $0.46 per share, for the year ended Sept. 30, 2003.

"Although our wholesale sales increased in fiscal 2004 and our first quarter wholesale sales have increased over the first quarter of last year, we anticipate that our sales volume for fiscal 2005 will be lower than fiscal 2004 due to the loss of the West Marine business,” said Gerald W. Montiel, chairman and CEO. “We are a small public company and, as with any publicly-held company, our goal is to maximize shareholder value.

“Recognizing this, the board of directors is presently exploring a wide range of alternatives, both inside and outside the apparel industry. This includes looking at potential mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and other financing opportunities.

"Today we filed our Form 10-KSB with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In that report, Ernst & Young LLP, our independent registered public accounting firm, issued an audit report for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2004 which contained an unqualified opinion but included an emphasis paragraph that expressed doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern based upon our history of recurring losses from operations and negative cash flows from operating activities. As a small public company, we clearly understand the significance of this issue."

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