J. Crew Revenue Dips 3 Percent

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J. Crew Group Inc. revenue for the first quarter of fiscal 2003 ended May 3 fell 3 percent to $161.5 million from $167.1 million a year ago, the company said yesterday.


Comparable-store sales plummeted 11 percent as net sales in its Direct business dropped 2 percent.


The New York company's net loss totaled $19.6 million versus a net loss of $12.1 million last year. The 2003 results do not include a tax benefit while the 2002 results include a tax benefit of $6.5 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization amounted to a loss of $2 million in the 2003 first quarter compared with a loss of $500,000 last year.


The results of operations in the 2003 first quarter reflect a fall in merchandise margins of $11 million from 40.1 percent in 2002 to 34.6 percent in 2003, offset by a decrease of $10 million in selling, general and administrative expenses including a decrease in severance of $4 million.


Selling, general and administrative expenses in first-quarter 2003, excluding severance costs, were down $6 million from last year. This decrease included $2 million in selling expenses attributable to a decrease in the number of catalog pages circulated and $4 million from cost reduction initiatives adopted in first-quarter 2002.


In other news:


· Chico's FAS Inc., Fort Myers, FL, said net sales in the first quarter of the current fiscal year ended May 3 skyrocketed 29.5 percent to $169 million from $130.5 million in the quarter ended May 4, 2002. Net income rose 18.2 percent to $23.4 million from $19.8 million in the year-ago quarter. Comparable-store sales for company-owned stores climbed 7.8 percent. Net sales by catalog and Internet in the 13 weeks ended May 3 totaled $5.68 million, or 3.4 percent of sales, compared with $3.58 million in the comparable period ended May 4, 2002, representing 2.8 percent of sales.


· PETsMART Inc., Phoenix, posted first-quarter net income of $24.6 million for the period ended May 4 versus $22.1 million in first-quarter 2002. Net sales in the quarter totaled $696.8 million, up from $645.8 million a year ago. Sales at stores open at least a year rose 4.8 percent compared with the first quarter a year ago when the company posted comparable-store sales growth of 12.1 percent. Pet services sales in the first quarter totaled $45.5 million, up $8.3 million or 22.3 percent.


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