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West Marine reports 1Q results

West Marine today reported a nearly 9 percent increase in net revenues for the first quarter of 2010.

Net revenues were $109.6 million versus $101 million last year, an 8.6 percent increase. Comparable store sales increased by 8.4 percent, the company reported.

Pretax loss for the 13 weeks ending April 3 was $8.9 million, a $6.5 million improvement over a pretax loss of $15.4 million last year. Net loss was 40 cents per share, compared to a 71 cent net loss per share last year.

West Marine stock opened this morning at $11.67 per share, rising above $12 by mid-morning trading. The 52-week high and low are $12.21 and $5.15.

"We are pleased to report these considerably improved results for the first quarter of 2010," CEO Geoff Eisenberg said in a statement. "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."

Eisenberg continued: "In fact, Q1 of 2010 was the sixth consecutive quarter in which we delivered improved operating results versus the corresponding quarter the prior year. As we mentioned previously, we believe our sales growth was driven by a number of factors, both external and internal. These factors included a recovery in demand for our bigger-ticket items, such as boats, motors and electronics, and strong preseason purchases of maintenance-related products, which gives an early indication of boat usage in the key late-spring and summer months."

Gross profit for the period was $25.6 million, an increase of $3.7 million compared to 2009.

Inventory levels at the end of the quarter decreased by $14.9 million, or 5.8 percent, reflecting a 4.8 percent decrease on a per-square-footage basis. Additionally, in-stock rates have been maintained at internal target levels.

At the end of the quarter, short-term debt was $39.1 million. Total debt decreased by $36.7 million, or 48.4 percent, from this time last year.

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