Catalog Sale, Stock Purchase Hurt Blair 3Q Earnings

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The sale of Blair Corp.'s Crossing Pointe catalog combined with weaker than expected response rates to the company's traditional letter mailings resulted in lower third-quarter earnings.


The Warren, PA, company said yesterday that net sales for its third quarter ended Sept. 30 were $98.1 million compared to $107.1 million last year. Blair is a multichannel merchant of men's, women's and home fashions


The company's income for the third quarter was down 52 percent due in large part to the repurchase of 4.4 million shares on Aug. 16. Net income for the quarter was $1.4 million compared to $2.9 million in third quarter 2004.


Excluding the stock purchase and expenses related to severance costs for executives, Blair said its third-quarter income rose 17 percent to $3.4 million.


The company did get some good news in the form of a reduction in the cost of goods sold as a percentage of net sales. Costs dropped to 43.5 percent compared to 47.8 percent. Blair also said its e-commerce channel generated $67.8 million in gross sales for the first nine months of 2005, up from $66.1 million for the first nine months of 2004.


"We are pleased with the core operating results for the third quarter, which lend further credence to our strategic plan to better position Blair for growth," president/CEO John Zawacki said in a statement. "We will continue to focus on our core customer base and further reduce operating costs."


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