MarineMax revenue cut in half, loss doubles

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Boat retail giant MarineMax, Inc. (NYSE: HZO) saw its revenue decline by more than half and its net loss more than double during the first quarter ended Dec. 31, compared to the same period of last year, it reported in a statement this morning.

However, the company also reported a substantial reduction of inventory, which declined by $90 million, year-over-year – a major accomplishment considering the company’s large drop in sales and the fact that December is generally its lowest sales quarter, according to MarineMax.

In addition, the boat retailer highlighted its ability to maintain a “healthy gross margin” as higher margin segments, such as service and parts and accessories, grew as a percentage of its business.

“While the ongoing challenges in the consumer environment continued to impact our sales results during the first quarter, we made progress in managing the areas of our business that we can control,” commented William H. McGill, Jr., chairman, president and CEO. “We continued to streamline our cost structure by reducing all major categories of expense and closing five additional stores.”

McGill also stated that MarineMax secured an amendment to its credit facility in the quarter, which gives it “improved financial flexibility to operate and manage our business through these difficult market conditions.”

Economic conditions hit retailer hard

MarineMax’s revenue was $100.2 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with $215.3 million for the comparable period of 2007, the company reported. Same-store sales declined approximately 52 percent compared with a 9 percent decrease in the comparable quarter last year. Revenue from stores recently opened or closed that were not eligible for inclusion in the same-store sales base was $7.6 million.

The net loss for the first quarter of fiscal 2009 was $14.3 million, or $0.78 per share, compared with a net loss of $6.4 million, or $0.35 per share, for the comparable quarter last year. Included in the first quarter fiscal 2009 net loss was $0.02 per share of costs associated with the closing of five stores during the quarter, according to MarineMax.

The company’s same-store sales for the quarter were adversely affected by the widely reported weak economic conditions and continued volatility in the financial markets, MarineMax explained.

“While we have done our fair share of cost cutting, the industry will likely continue to be impacted by the soft economy,” McGill concluded. “We remain committed to providing our customers the highest level of service and boating experiences so that, when they are ready to make a purchase or give recommendations to friends or associates, they will continue to turn to MarineMax. The good news is that our customers’ passion for the lifestyle of boating has not faltered as they enjoy boating as a recreation with their families.”

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