December sales down for West Marine

WATSONVILLE, Calif. – Boating retailer West Marine’s net sales for the five weeks ended Jan. 1 decreased 14 percent compared to net sales during the same period in 2003, from $53.1 million to $45.7 million, the company reported this morning in a press release.

Comparable store net sales for the five weeks ended Jan. 1 also decreased (5.3 percent) compared to the similar five-week period a year ago, and net sales for the 13 weeks ended Jan. 1 were $117.5 million, a decrease of 5.5 percent from net sales of $124.3 million for the 14-week period a year ago.

West Marine said its comparable store net sales for the latest quarter decreased 3.3 percent compared to the similar 13-week period a year ago.

However, net sales for the 52 weeks ended Jan. 1 were $682.4 million, an increase of 3.3 percent from net sales of $660.3 million for the 53 week period ended Jan. 3, 2004. Comparable store net sales for the year increased 0.3 percent compared to the similar 52 week period for the prior year.

“Sales for December were softer than we anticipated, especially in our Northeast region,” said Eric Nelson, CFO of West Marine. “However, because December gross margins were better than expected, we are on target to reach the low to midpoint of our 2004 earnings guidance of $1.25 to $1.28 per share, which represents a significant increase over earnings of $0.99 per share last year. We also remain comfortable with our previous earnings guidance for 2005, ranging from $1.49 to $1.53 per share.”

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