West Marine ends fiscal 2009 debt-free

WATSONVILLE, Calif. – West Marine, Inc. ended the year debt-free, according to the company’s financial results for the 2009 fourth quarter and fiscal year ended Jan. 2, which were released today. At the end of 2008, the company had long-term debt of $47 million.

The fourth quarter of 2009 was West Marine’s second consecutive quarter of being debt-free at the end of the period. The second half of 2009 was the first debt free period for West Marine in over 20 years.

Net revenues for the 13 weeks ended Jan. 2 were $103.9 million, a decrease of $7.1 million from net revenues of $111.1 million for the 14 weeks ended Jan. 3, 2009. Comparable store sales for the fourth quarter decreased 4.8 percent.

According to the company, West Marine’s fourth quarter net revenues – adjusted to remove the impact of an extra week in the fourth quarter of 2008 – increased by $1.5 million and adjusted comparable store sales increased by 3.2 percent. Net loss for the fourth quarter was $12.8 million, compared to a net loss of $29.0 million for the fourth quarter last year.

For the entire fiscal year, the company’s net income was $12.4 million, an improvement of $51.2 million over the net loss of $38.8 million for fiscal year 2008. Net revenues for the 52 week year were $588.4 million. Adjusted to remove the impact of an extra week in the 2008 fiscal year, 2009 fiscal year adjusted net revenues decreased by $36.8 million, or 5.9 percent, and adjusted comparable store sales decreased by 2.7 percent versus fiscal year 2008. Cash generated from operating activities for the year more than tripled to $62.6 million, compared to $20.6 million for fiscal year 2008, an all-time record for West Marine.

“We are certainly pleased with our progress during 2009 and are delighted to report such a significant improvement in earnings and cash flow,” Geoff Eisenberg, West Marine’s CEO, said in the year-end report. “Especially considering how difficult a year it was for the boating industry, I think it’s quite noteworthy that West Marine was profitable for the year.”

According to Eisenberg, the company was able to gain ground this year because of changes in the market.

“The changes we made during 2008 and early 2009 helped position us to take advantage of changes in the competitive landscape, which included the liquidation of one of our primary national competitors, Boater’s World,” Eisenberg said. “We also benefited from an increase in boat usage in some markets, continued strength in do-it-yourself type projects, plus positive customer response toward our expanded product assortments and new store formats. Our associate teams did an outstanding job improving our overall productivity, understanding and fulfilling customers’ needs, increasing inventory turns, managing capital and positioning West Marine well for the future.”

To read the complete financial report, click here.

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