Blair Q1 sales drop 25 percent

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Multichannel apparel merchant Blair Corp. has reported that its net sales for the first quarter ended March 31 dropped 25.1 percent to $76.1 million.

The company also said unit sales volume declined 27.6 percent and e-commerce sales dropped 28.2 percent to $17.8 million.

Blair reported a net loss of $5.1 million, or $1.35 per basic and diluted share for the first quarter of this year, compared to a net loss of $4.8 million, or $1.23 per basic and diluted share, reported for the first quarter of 2006.

In January, Warren, PA-based Blair announced it had entered into a $173.6 million definitive merger agreement with Appleseed's Topco Inc., a division of private investment firm Golden Gate Capital. The deal is expected to close this spring.

While the company had expected lower net sales in the first quarter as a result of planned reductions in catalog circulation, it said in a statement Tuesday that results were still 14.8 percent below expectations. It attributed the steeper-than-expected decline in sales to low customer demand and a slow response to spring apparel.

The company also said it experienced fulfillment problems resulting from the start-up of a new warehouse management software system.

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