West Marine, Inc. said EBITDA for its its fiscal year ended Jan. 3 is now expected to be approximately $22 million
to $23 million versus previously-issued guidance of $27.5 million to
$30.0 million, and pre-tax profit is expected to be approximately $3.5
million to $4.5 million compared to our prior guidance of $8.5 million
to $11.0 million.

Total revenues for fiscal 2014 are expected to be approximately $676 million, within the range of previously-issued guidance of $665 million to $680 million. Fiscal 2014 was a 53-week year and included an extra week in the fourth quarter. Comparable store sales for the year are expected to be +1.2% versus our prior guidance of -1.0% to +1.5%. The company anticipates comparable store sales for the fourth quarter to be approximately +8.7%, and both the full year and fourth quarter benefitted from the additional week included in fiscal 2014.

The results discussed above are preliminary and unaudited and are subject to change based on the completion of the company's normal quarter and year-end review process and the audit of our financial statements by its independent registered public accounting firm.

Matt Hyde, West Marine's CEO, commented: “We are very pleased with the progress we made in the fourth quarter in delivering sales growth resulting from our efforts to drive the holiday business through our expanded assortment, increased holiday marketing efforts and improved shopping experience in stores and on the web where the preliminary numbers of our domestic eCommerce business reflect growth of 16.3 percent compared to last year. On a like-calendar basis, our comparable store sales for the year are expected to grow by about 0.1 percent, highlighted by an increase of approximately 2.8 percent for the fourth quarter and a 6.4 percent increase in December.

However, our fourth quarter earnings will include costs that exceeded our forecasts, such as: higher employee benefits expense, including healthcare claims; increased share-based compensation expense due to the unanticipated increase in our stock price late in the year; and higher-than-expected unit buying and distribution costs due to bringing in additional inventory to protect early-season sales growth and to bolster our core boat product sales in our traditional stores.”

CFO Transition

On January 16, 2015, the company's Board of Directors accepted the resignation of Thomas R. Moran from his position as Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary. His departure does not result from any disagreement with the company's Board of Directors or management on any matter relating to its operations, policies or accounting practices. Mr. Moran will remain with the company through January 30, 2015 to support an orderly transition.

“On behalf of the management team and our Board of Directors, I thank Tom for his hard work and many contributions over his 8 years of service to the company. Tom has helped position us to continue to execute on our growth strategies, and he leaves a strong finance team that can oversee and steward West Marine. We all wish the best for Tom,” said Hyde.

On January 16, 2015, the Board also appointed Deborah Ajeska, West Marine's Divisional Vice President and Controller, as the company's Principal Financial Officer. In this new capacity, Ajeska will perform Mr. Moran's duties until a new CFO is appointed. Ajeska, a 15 year veteran of the finance team, joined the company in May of 1999 as its Director of Financial Planning & Analysis, was promoted to Assistant Vice President of Financial Planning & Analysis in 2007, then to Assistant Vice President-Operations, Controller in 2008 and finally to her current position in late 2010.

The company intends to conduct a search to recruit a new CFO.