West Marine sales ‘better than planned’ in Q1

WATSONVILLE, Calif. — West Marine Inc. today released unaudited operating results for the first quarter of 2011.

Net revenues for the 13 weeks ended April 2 were $113.8 million, compared to net revenues of $109.6 million for the 13 weeks ended April 3, 2010. Comparable store sales increased 2.7 percent versus the same period a year ago.

The company experienced a net loss of $0.55 per share, as compared to a loss of $0.43 per share last year. The company said its first quarter net loss was in line with expectations.

"Our sales results in the first quarter were better than we had planned," West Marine CEO Geoff Eisenberg said in a statement. "Last year we had historically great weather in the northern parts of the country; however, this year returned to a more typical weather pattern, with harsh wintery conditions during the first quarter. Since northern boaters did not launch and use their boats nearly as early as they did last year, sales of maintenance and other related products were not as strong in the first quarter this year as they were last year.

"Despite the weather negatively impacting the northern portions of the country, we experienced some unexpected increases that resulted in higher total revenues than we budgeted. Our sales of higher-ticket merchandise, such as electronics, were stronger than expected, and we had surprising strength in the southeast region; the only portion of the country that had great weather and was 'in season' during the period.

"We also experienced stronger than expected results in our Port Supply wholesale sales through our store locations. Our Direct channel, which operates online through westmarine.com and through our virtual Call Center at 1-800-Boating, also exceeded our expectations.

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"These indicators signal to us that the main boating season may be stronger than we had originally anticipated, and thus we are raising our 2011 sales guidance."

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