April weather dampens several companies' Q1 results

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Restoration Hardware, Sharper Image and Talbots have blamed poor first-quarter results on April's stormy weather.

Restoration Hardware, Corte Madera, CA, said yesterday that it expects net revenue for the first quarter ended May 5 to total about $142 million, up 7 percent from last year but lower than expected in part because of April sales falling below plan.

"We believe this is predominantly due to the fact that our second Outdoor catalog mailing dropped on April 5 during adverse weather conditions in the East," Gary Friedman, president/CEO of Restoration Hardware, said in a statement.

Initial response to the May 3 drop of its Outdoor catalog is meeting expectations, he said.

Despite Sharper Image's naming a new president/CEO, its increased emphasis on exclusive products and its launch of a licensing division, its sales continued their freefall.

For the first quarter ended April 30, the San Francisco-based multichannel merchant reported sales totaled $65.5 million, down 37 percent from last year. Comparable-store sales for the quarter decreased 22 percent.

Catalog and direct marketing sales dropped 62 percent to $11.3 million. Internet sales decreased 42 percent to $10 million.

Talbots Inc., Hingham, MA, had a setback in the first quarter, with its J. Jill brand reporting a 1.2 percent drop in same-store sales after the brand put in its first positive comparable store results in over a year during the fourth quarter.

Overall, comparable store sales declined 3.5 percent for the period ended May 5 while comparable-store sales for the Talbots brand decreased 3.9 percent.

First quarter company sales totaled $573.6 million versus last year's reported sales of $453 million.

Consolidated direct marketing sales totaled $105.6 million, compared to last year's Talbots only brand direct marketing sales of $68.1 million.

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