Non-Floral Gifts Help 1-800-Flowers Grow in Dry Season

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Online and telephone florist 1-800-Flowers.com Inc. has grown in what traditionally is its lowest revenue quarter, the July-September period that has no summer gifting holidays.


The Westbury, NY, company yesterday reported revenue of $89.2 million for its fiscal 2003 first quarter ending Sept. 29, up 12.7 percent from $79.2 million in year-ago sales. Net loss declined to $7.3 million in the quarter from $8.9 million in the prior year.


An expanded offering of higher-margin non-floral gifts, improved infrastructure and reduced operating expenses were key reasons for the quarter's performance, the florist said in a prepared statement.


In the quarter, 1-800-Flowers attracted 494,000 new customers, 15 percent of whom were online. Nearly 1.1 million customers placed orders in the period. Of that lot, 56 percent were repeat customers, up from 53.6 percent in the first quarter of fiscal 2002.


The company recently completed the integration of The Popcorn Factory, a catalog and online retailer selling popcorn-themed items. That firm was bought in May by 1-800-Flowers, albeit costing the florist an additional loss of $1.5 million due to fixed overhead costs and low sales in the summer.


The Popcorn Factory purchase equips the florist to offer more product variety in the Halloween and holiday season.


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