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West Marine sees soft third-quarter sales

West Marine recently reported a decrease in net sales and comparable-store sales for the third quarter and year to date.

Net sales for the 13 weeks ending Sept. 27 were $180.2 million, a decrease of $8.2 million, or 4.4 percent, from net sales of $188.4 million for the same period a year ago, primarily because of a $7.5 million decrease in comparable store sales.

Comparable-store sales for the third quarter decreased 4.7 percent.

"As anticipated, sales results during the third quarter remained soft, with particular weakness in the southeastern part of the country,” said Geoff Eisenberg, CEO of West Marine, in a statement. “Economic conditions and high fuel prices continued to affect boat usage, which is the primary driver of our traffic and sales levels. Spending on big-ticket items continued to be slow.

“We are continuing to operate the business conservatively, focusing on expense management and cash flow generation," he added.

Net sales for the 39 weeks ending Sept. 27 were $520.1 million, a decrease of $41.1 million, or 7.3 percent, from net sales of $561.3 million for the same period a year ago. This was primarily because of a $33.3 million decrease in comparable-store sales and a $9.2 million sales decrease attributable to stores that were closed in 2007.

Comparable-store sales for the 39 weeks ending Sept. 27 do not include net sales of $9 million from new stores and $7.1 million from remodeled or expanded stores.

Comparable-store sales for the 39 weeks ending Sept. 27 decreased 7.1 percent.

Port Supply (wholesale) segment sales through the distribution centers for the third quarter of 2008 were $9.9 million, a decrease of $200,000, or 2.3 percent, compared to the same period last year.

Port Supply sales to wholesale customers through retail store locations are included in the stores segment. Net sales in the direct sales segment for the third quarter of 2008 were $10.5 million, a decrease of $400,000, or 4 percent, compared to the same period last year.

West Marine has 356 stores in 38 states, Puerto Rico, Canada and a franchised store in Turkey.

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