WATSONVILLE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 1, 2004--West Marine,
Inc. (Nasdaq:WMAR) today reported that net sales for the four weeks
ended August 28, 2004 were $56.8 million, a 4.1% decrease compared to
net sales of $59.2 million for the same four-week period a year ago.
Comparable store net sales for August decreased 6.4% compared to the
same period a year ago.
Net sales for the thirty-four weeks ended August 28, 2004 were
$510.4 million, an increase of 6.5% over net sales of $479.5 million
for the same period a year ago. Comparable store net sales for the
latest thirty-four weeks increased 2.0% compared to the same period a
John Edmondson, CEO of West Marine, said, "Sales in August
continued the soft trend that we first observed in the latter part of
June. August comparable store sales by region were as follows: Western
-4.0%, Northeast -9.1% and Southeast -4.5%. Late in the month,
Hurricane Charley affected a number of stores in our Southeast region,
including the closure of one store. Sales in affected areas usually
improve following a hurricane as boat owners make necessary repairs.
Historically, the net effect of hurricanes on our business has been
"Although our gross margin remained strong compared to last year,
it was not enough to offset the lower sales. As a result, we do not
expect to meet our previous earnings guidance for the third quarter of
$0.43 to $0.44 per share. We will update our earnings guidance in
mid-September, allowing us to consider activity over the important
Labor Day weekend.
"Over 70% of the merchandise we sell is related to maintenance and
repair, and as a result our customers typically make purchases as the
need arises. Consequently, it is becoming increasingly apparent to us
that our comparable store sales over the entire year can usually be
expected to remain relatively flat. We remain committed to expanding
our earnings by 18% to 20% annually. We believe that growing sales and
earnings by gaining market share is the correct strategy and, toward
this end, we are on track for opening 35 new stores this year and
increasing our annual new store growth rate to between 50 and 55 new
stores in 2005.
"Beginning in 2005, we plan to report sales for each quarter
rather than for every month. We believe this approach will better
emphasize trends in our business, as it removes some of the short-term
effects that weather has in monthly sales results."
West Marine, Inc. is the nation's largest specialty retailer of
boating supplies and apparel, with 353 stores in 38 states, Canada and
Puerto Rico, and more than $660 million in annual sales. The Company's
successful catalog and Internet channels offer customers approximately
50,000 products - far more than any competitor - and the convenience
of being able to exchange catalog and Internet purchases at its retail
stores. The Company's Port Supply division is the country's largest
wholesale distributor of marine equipment serving boat manufacturers,
marine services, commercial vessel operators and government agencies.
Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This press release includes "forward-looking statements" within
the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
These forward-looking statements include, among other things,
statements that relate to West Marine's future plans, expectations,
objectives, performance, and similar projections, as well as facts and
assumptions underlying these statements or projections. Actual results
may differ materially from the results expressed or implied in these
forward-looking statements due to various risks, uncertainties or
other factors. Risks and uncertainties include the Company's ability
to increase sales at its existing stores and expand through the
opening of new stores, competitive pricing pressures, inventory
management and shrink issues, the market share erosion faced by the
Company's Direct Sales division as West Marine and its competitors
open new stores, weather-related issues, the level of consumer
spending on recreational water sports and boating supplies, and other
risk factors described from time to time in West Marine's filings with
the Securities and Exchange Commission, including West Marine's
quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the period ended July 3, 2004. West
Marine assumes no responsibility to update any forward-looking
statements as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
CONTACT: West Marine, Inc.
Eric Nelson, 831-761-4489
Russell Solt, 831-761-4229
SOURCE: West Marine, Inc.