Abercrombie, Nordstrom Sales Spring to Life While RedEnvelope Posts a Net Loss

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Spring sales were rosy for several multichannel retailers reporting results yesterday.


Abercrombie & Fitch Co., New Albany, OH, said its operating income totaled $68.3 million in the first quarter ended April 30, a 46 percent gain over last year's results.


The multichannel apparel marketer said net sales increased 33 percent, totaling $546.8 million, while same-store sales rose 19 percent. Also, direct-to-consumer sales, excluding shipping and handling revenue, increased 19 percent versus last year. International DTC sales rose 20 percent.


Abercrombie's first-quarter gross margin rate was 65.3 percent, up 30 basis points compared with last year.


RedEnvelope Inc., San Francisco, generated net revenue in the fourth quarter of its fiscal year ended April 3 that reached $22.2 million, a 28 percent increase from last year. However, the company posted a net loss for the quarter of $3.8 million compared with a net loss of $2.3 million for the same period last year.


Also, the online upscale gift retailer said its gross margin was 44 percent, approximately 9 points lower than the same period last year.


The company's year-end results, also reported yesterday, were somewhat better. Net revenue for the fiscal year ended April 3 totaled $101.4 million, a 28 percent gain over the previous year. However, the company posted a net loss of $5.9 million compared with a net loss of $5.1 million in fiscal year 2004.


In fiscal 2005, RedEnvelope "refreshed much of the product line with proprietary designs, updated its brand image, improved the accuracy of its fulfillment operations, established a sourcing department, enhanced its customer service and dealt with an expensive and distracting proxy fight," RedEnvelope president/CEO Alison May said in a statement.


At the end of the fiscal year, RedEnvelope's customer file totaled about 2.3 million names, representing growth of about 560,000 names for the 12-month period.


Also reporting results yesterday was Nordstrom Inc., Seattle, which said sales for its first quarter ended April 30 increased 7.7 percent to $1.7 billion. Same-store sales increased 6.2 percent during the quarter.


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