West Marine’s net loss shrinks

WATSONVILLE, Calif. – Boating supplies retail chain West Marine, Inc. (Nasdaq: WMAR) says it is successfully reducing its costs amidst a challenging marine market environment.

Net loss for the thirteen weeks ended March 31, 2007 was $11.2 million compared to a restated net loss of $11.9 million for the same period a year ago, the company reported in a recent statement.

Net sales for the thirteen weeks were $126.1 million, compared to net sales of $132.6 million for the same period a year ago. West Marine said it operated 379 stores during the first quarter of 2007, compared to 407 stores during the first quarter of 2006. Comparable store sales decreased 2.1 percent during the first quarter of 2007.

“Our first quarter results reflect changes that have been made to improve the business’ expense base while we work through a difficult industry climate,” commented Peter Harris, West Marine’s chief executive officer. “The company is delivering on our plans to reduce costs. Also, we are continuing to focus on being ready for the customer and serving them with fresh, exciting new products. As a result, our margins reflect the clearance of end-of-life merchandise taking place earlier in the year than in the past.”

Despite the progress the company has made, its ability to meet earnings expectations depend on marine market conditions, Harris added.

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