MarineMax drop in sales steeper than expected

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Boat dealership chain MarineMax, Inc. (NYSE: HZO) was taken by surprise during the fourth quarter by the extent of the sales decline it experienced, the company reported in a statement this morning.

“Almost unprecedented worldwide financial and economic conditions, coupled with multiple hurricanes, resulted in a much steeper decline in our revenue than we had anticipated,” said William H. McGill, Jr., MarineMax chairman, president and CEO.

The company expects to report fiscal fourth quarter 2008 revenue of approximately $165 million compared with $318 million in the comparable quarter last year, reflecting a same-store sales decline of approximately 45 percent versus a 1-percent same-store sales decrease reported a year ago.

“Given these pressures on our sales, we took action to further reduce our inventory purchases,” explained McGill. “We do expect to report a slight decrease in year-over-year inventory levels. We continue to evaluate our cost structure to mitigate the impact of the revenue decrease on our profitability.”

MarineMax expects to report a net loss per share of between $0.58 and $0.68 for its fourth quarter versus net earnings per diluted share of $0.35 in the comparable quarter last year, the company reported in a statement this morning.

Approximately $0.10 of the expected fourth quarter 2008 loss is attributable to charges the company has taken associated with the closing of seven stores during the quarter, it stated.

“Despite what is proving to be the harshest marine market in decades, we remain confident in our differentiated, customer-centric business model, which has positioned us as the leading retailer in our markets and has allowed us to continue to grow market share year after year,” McGill concluded.

MarineMax expects to release its full fourth quarter and year end results on Nov. 11.

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