Retail Financials Show Some Progress
By Alan Wolf On May 3 2010 - 4:01am
NEW YORK — The most recent financial
results of several publicly held retailers
involved in CE illustrate that consumers
are shopping again in stores and
online as the economy revives.
While recent results are not uniform,
with individual chains needing to continue
to shore up their individual operations,
there is some overall positive momentum.
On the top of the list is Amazon.
, reporting a 68 percent increase in
net income to $299 million for the three
months, ended March 31, and net sales
rose 46 percent to $7.1 billion.
In North America, sales of electronics
and other general merchandise rose 73
percent to $2 billion during the quarter.
In a statement, Amazon founder/
CEO Jeff Bezos described the company’s
proprietary Kindle e-book reader as its
No. 1 best-selling product.RadioShack
, which as been the subject
of takeover rumors, said its focus on mobility,
connectivity and brand re-building
helped fuel a 16.2 percent increase in
net income for the three months ended
Sales for the period rose 4 percent to $1
billion, and compstore
kiosks increased 4.7
The sales gains
included a 4.3 percent
$37.2 million, at
U.S. stores, which
was partially offset
by an 8.2 percent
decrease, or $5.1
million, in kiosk sales, due to fewer locations
and the closure of its Sprint-branded
kiosks in August.
The downturn in kiosk sales was
partially offset by comp-store revenue
gains in Sam’s Club kiosk locations, RadioShack
Broken out by category, wireless revenue
was up nearly 49 percent, driven by
increased Sprint Nextel postpaid wireless
sales, the addition of T-Mobile as a
postpaid wireless carrier, and increased
sales of prepaid wireless handsets.
The two of the nation’s office superstores
had varying degrees of success
in during the first
net income soared
88 percent to $24.8
million for the
three months, ended
March 27, but
weakness in its retail operations,
which offset rising
produced flat net
sales of $1.9 million for the period.
Indeed, retail sales slipped 3 percent to
$954.3 million, reflecting a comp-store
sales decline of 2.5 percent and the closure
of seven U.S. stores during the quarter.
The chain attributed the comp-sales
decline to “a continued weak market environment,”
although comps improved
from last year’s 6.7 percent decrease, reflecting favorable sales trends in the U.S.
and Mexico, OfficeMax said.
Conversely, retail income rose 39 percent to $38.8 million due to higher
product margins, which stemmed from
less aggressive discounting and increased
In a statement, chairman/CEO Sam
Duncan said “While we expect the road
to recovery will not be smooth, we are optimistic
about our future.”
’s strong international performance
helped Office Depot post firstquarter
earnings of $20 million, compared
with a year-ago loss of $55 million.
However, net sales for the three
months, ended March 27, decreased 5
percent to $3.1 billion on weakness in its
North American retail unit. Sales there
fell 6 percent to $1.3 billion — due largely
to the closure of 120 stores last year —
and comp-store sales slipped 1 percent.
In a statement, chief financial officer
Mike Newman noted, “Our first quarter
operating results exceeded our expectations
due primarily to a stronger than
anticipated performance for the second
consecutive quarter by our international
division. We’re pleased that these results
include year-over-year gross profi t margin
improvement, marking the third consecutive
quarter of such improvement.”Sears
discussed its first quarter sales
saying its comps at its Sears’ flagship
stores edged up 0.3 percent during the
three months ending April 21 thanks to
increased demand for major appliances.
Sears’ first quarter ended May 1 and
it has not released a full quarterly report
The retailer attributed the majap sales
gains to the launch of new products under
its private-label Kenmore brand, and consumer
response to the federally funded
“cash for appliances” stimulus program.
Conversely, CE proved to be the softer
side of Sears during the quarter, with
the company reporting lower sales in that