West Marine releases 4Q and year-end results

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West Marine today reported a drop in revenue for fiscal 2008, but the retailer beat its earlier estimates and had a lower net loss compared to 2007.

“While we don’t like to experience lower sales and operating losses, we are pleased with our progress toward our key objectives of strengthening our balance sheet, improving our internal operations, positioning ourselves to weather the current market, and being poised for growth when the market allows,” president and CEO Geoff Eisenberg said in a statement.

Net revenues for 53 weeks ending Jan. 3 were $631.3 million, down 7.1 percent from the same period last year. Same-store sales decreased 6.8 percent, compared to a 7.6 percent decline the previous year.

Net loss was $38.8 million, or $1.76 per share, which compares to the estimated range of a net loss of $1.84 to $1.90 per share communicated in January. Net loss in fiscal 2007 was $50 million, or $2.30 per share.

Net revenues for the fiscal 2008 fourth quarter fell 6.1 percent to $111.1 million. Same-store sales declined 5.1 percent, compared to a 9.9 percent drop in the year-ago period. Net loss for the recent quarter was $29 million, or $1.31 per share, compared to a net loss of $65.6 million, or $3 per share, for the fourth quarter last year.

Looking ahead, Eisenberg said, “We assume that this year will continue to be quite challenging for our industry. With all the weakness observed in the economy, we expect sales to decline at roughly the same pace we experienced in recent quarters.”

He said West Marine will strive to control expenses and manage its working capital to generate positive cash flow and further reduce debt.

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