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West Marine reports 1Q results

Citing lingering chilly spring weather, West Marine said its first-quarter revenue was $113.3 million, a decline of less than 1 percent from a year earlier, and comparable-store sales were down 1.7 percent.

The California-based boating supplies and accessories retailer reported a net loss for the quarter that ended March 29 of $11 million, or 46 cents a share, missing projections by 8 cents, compared with a loss of $9.7 million, or 41 cents a share, in the first quarter last year.

The company will continue to invest in strategies that will make it less dependent on weather, CEO Matt Hyde said.

"We had mixed results this quarter,” Hyde said in a statement. “The top line reflected disappointing retail sales, largely driven by a cold and snowy winter and spring. We also experienced, as expected, soft sales as a result of the initial transition to our new eCommerce platform, though recently we've begun to recover from the transition.”

Weak results were partially offset by gains in wholesale sales, solid growth in the regions where spring weather has been more typical and continued success of the company’s growth strategies, Hyde said.

“Despite the tough quarter, we remain optimistic with the positive results from our strategies and will continue to invest in them as we reposition to be less dependent on weather influences,” Hyde said.

“While the first quarter was disappointing, it is still early in the season for us,” he said. “Our ability to hit sales and earnings guidance will be dependent on a continuing return to more normal weather as we move into peak season, which would drive boat usage and sales of our core products.”

In areas with more typical spring weather, West Marine saw favorable sales trends. Additionally, most strategic investments are now taking effect for 2014.

“Given the sales softness thus far, we are managing expenses while we continue to invest in our growth strategies,” Hyde said. “At this point, given the above factors, we are maintaining our guidance for the year.”

Pretax income for the year as a whole is expected to be in a range of $16 million to $18.5 million, the company said. GAAP diluted earnings per share is expected to be in the range of 39 cents to 45 cents.

Comparable-store sales for 2014 as a whole are anticipated to be up 3.5 to 6 percent, and total revenue is expected to be in the range of $695 million to $710 million.

EBITDA is estimated to be in the range of $35 million to $37.5 million and capital expenditures are anticipated in the range of $30 million to $34 million.

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