West Marine reports 1Q loss

WATSONVILLE, Calif. - Boating retailer West Marine, Inc. said its net sales for the 13 weeks ended April 2 fell 2.8 percent from the same period the year before, to $125.6 million from $129.2 million in 2004, in a press release earlier this week.

Comparable store sales for the first quarter of 2005 decreased 6.6 percent, compared to comparable store sales of 10.2 percent reported for the first quarter one year ago.

"The start of boating season activity was delayed as cold, wet, winter-like weather continued on both coasts of the United States in March,” Eric Nelson, CFO of West Marine, said. “Unlike last year, many boats in our Northeast region, from the mid-Atlantic up through the northeastern seaboard and across to the Great Lakes, remained in storage.

"We now anticipate our first quarter loss to range from ($0.26) to ($0.27) per share, including one-time charges of approximately ($0.02) per share for CEO hiring costs, compared to a loss of ($0.15) per share for the first quarter last year. Our expected first quarter results are slightly lower than previous guidance, mainly due to reduced volume in our high-margin maintenance category, which was impacted by delayed seasonal boat preparation activity. We will update our 2005 earnings guidance during our conference call April 28."

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