The Forzani Group Ltd. reported that Holiday Season results for the eight weeks ended December 28th, 2003 showed a 10.9% increase in total retail system sales. Comparable retail system sales were up 6.5%. Comparable corporate stores sales increased 2.0% while franchise comparable store sales increased an impressive 18.1% for the Holiday selling season.
Corporate store margins were especially strong and significantly above the prior year as the Company's earlier initiatives to reduce its exposure to casual clothing categories, enabled it to avoid heavy discounting.
Commenting on the results Chief Executive Officer Bob Sartor said, ” The Company's performance was strong. Our franchise business was very solid with sales increases well beyond our expectations, despite being up against record numbers in the prior year. And, our corporate business posted good comparable store sales and very strong margins at the same time. This made for a very profitable Holiday selling season. Our earlier decisions to reposition our product assortment and reduce our exposure to casual clothing enabled us to avoid the intense price competition that plagued us last Christmas and that seemed evident with clothing retailers, in the malls, this year. Moreover, we were able to achieve those results with leaner inventories. In fact, comparable corporate store inventories were down 10% in the period. Cooler weather across most of the country, for the start of January, will contribute to what we expect will be a solid finish to the year.”