West Marine posts smaller year-over-year loss

WATSONVILLE, Calif. — In its first quarter of 2010, West Marine says it posted a pre-tax loss of $8.9 million, a $6.5 million improvement over a pre-tax loss of $15.4 million last year.

“We are pleased to report these considerably improved results for the first quarter of 2010,” Geoff Eisenberg, CEO of West Marine, said in the company’s quarterly report. “While we have always reported a loss in the first quarter due to seasonality in our business, we once again showed strong year-over-year operating performance. In fact, Q1 of 2010 was the sixth consecutive quarter in which we delivered improved operating results versus the corresponding quarter the prior year.”

Net revenues for the 13 weeks ended April 3 were $109.6 million compared to net revenues of $101.0 million for same period last year. Comparable store sales increased 8.4 percent.

“We believe our sales growth was driven by a number of factors, both external and internal,” Eisenberg said. “These factors included a recovery in demand for our bigger-ticket items, such as boats, motors and electronics, and strong pre-season purchases of maintenance-related products, which gives an early indication of boat usage in the key late spring and summer months. We believe we are benefitting from changes in the competitive landscape, and we also got a boost from favorable weather conditions in the Northeast. With all of these changes, our strategic decision to bring core goods in earlier in the season and in greater quantity has served us well.”

Inventory levels at the end of the quarter decreased by $14.9 million, or 5.8 percent. Short-term debt was $39.1 million, and total debt decreased by $36.7 million, or 48.4 percent, from this time last year.

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