Fingerhut Companies Inc. reported increased earnings and a sharp jump in revenues for the quarter ended March 27. Revenues rose 4.9 percent, to $367.3 million from $350 million in the first quarter last year, and earnings shot up 115 percent, to $5.5 million from $2.6 million for the first quarter 1997.
In the catalog segment, a net loss of $3.7 million for the quarter was reported, equal to the loss reported in last year's first quarter. Net sales for the quarter were $269.4 million, down 7.2 percent from sales of $290.2 million for the same period last year.
Pete Michielutti, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the catalog division, attributed the decline in sales to tighter credit policies.
“We are experiencing the expected impact on sales from our actions to tighten out credit policies and reduce the number of high-risk orders,” he said. “In the second half of last year, we began eliminating some high-ticket products in higher risk segments and also began using external credit scores. Both actions are helping to bring down our delinquency levels but are also temporarily reducing sales.”