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Blair's Sales Down, Income Up During First Half

Blair Corp. said yesterday that net sales for the second quarter ended June 30 totaled $120.8 million compared with $127 million last year.

The Warren, PA-based multichannel marketer of women's and men's apparel and home products attributed $5.7 million of the $6.2 million reduction to the previously announced closing of its Crossing Pointe catalog, which was completed in March.

Though sales were down, Blair's net income fared better in the quarter. The company's net income totaled $6.1 million versus $5 million last year.

Results for the first half of 2005 were similar. Blair's net sales for the six months ended June 30 totaled $228.4 million compared with $255.6 million last year. Gross sales from the Internet totaled $48.6 million in the first half of 2005 versus $45.6 million last year.

In the first half, net income was $6.7 million, up from $5.6 million for the same period last year.

In the second quarter, Blair announced plans to initiate a stock tender buyback of 4.4 million shares of its outstanding common stock at $42 per share, or $185 million.

Blair recently closed on $200 million in financing from PNC Financial Services Group Inc., which will be used to help pay for the stock tender buyback in conjunction with $40 million of Blair's cash reserves. Blair said it intends to pay down this credit facility with proceeds from the previously announced sale of its credit card portfolio to Alliance Data Systems Corp.

Chantal Todé covers catalog and retail news and BTB marketing for DM News and DM News.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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