Blair's Sales Fall, Income Rises for Year, Quarter

Blair Corp.'s net income for the fourth quarter and fiscal 2005 climbed despite a slide in sales, the company said yesterday.

Net sales for the year ended Dec. 31, 2005, fell to $456.6 million from $496.1 million the previous year. The Warren, PA-based multichannel marketer of women's and men's apparel and home products attributed the decline to last spring's elimination of the Crossing Pointe catalog. The company continues to market under the brand names Blair and Irvine Park.

Net sales also were affected by more stringent credit standards and lower-than-anticipated response rates to Blair's traditional letter mailings, the company said. However, its e-commerce channel generated $95 million in gross sales in 2005 compared with $91.7 million in 2004.

Net income for the year was $31.5 million, up from 2004's $14.9 million. This reflects a one-time gain from the $27.7 million sale of Blair's credit portfolio.

Cost of goods sold, as a percentage of net sales for the year, was 44.7 percent compared with 47.4 percent for the previous year. Contributing factors included an increase in direct merchandise purchasing and a reduction in customer returns as a result of ongoing programs to improve merchandise quality, internal efforts to lower shipping costs and initiatives to lower liquidation costs.

Also, the company said net sales for the fourth quarter totaled $130.1 million, down from $133.4 million in the year-ago period. Blair's e-commerce channel generated $27.2 million in gross sales compared with $25.5 million for the fourth quarter of 2004. Net income for fourth-quarter 2005 was $23.4 million, compared with $6.3 million for the same period in 2004.

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

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