Q1 Profit Up Despite Sales Drop for Blair

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Blair Corp. said yesterday that its first-quarter profit saw a slight increase despite a drop in sales.


Quarterly income for the period ended March 31 for the multichannel marketer of women's and men's apparel and home products was $650,000 compared to $571,000 last year. Revenue was $107.6 million, which is down from $128.6 million a year ago.


Much of the Warren, PA, company's reduction in net sales was because of its previously announced shutdown of its Crossing Pointe catalog and a plan to scale back prospecting for noncore customers. The reduction in prospecting was aligned with Blair's business decision to specifically target catalog mailings to the company's core customer base. The company said it thinks softness in response rates is partly because of changing economic conditions, including higher home heating and gasoline costs driven by the rise in oil prices.


"Blair generated a slight increase in profitability despite lower sales for the first quarter by adhering to its strategic plan of focusing on its core customer base, lowering overall operating costs and reducing unprofitable sales," president/CFO Bryan J. Flanagan said in a statement. "By closing down Crossing Pointe, Blair has eliminated the financial burden of costs and provisions for doubtful accounts associated with that catalog title and, as a result, is better positioned to increase profitability in the future."


As previously announced, Blair said it still is exploring the sale of its consumer finance receivable portfolio to a third-party financial institution.


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