West Marine, Inc. reported revenues advanced 3.3% in the fourth quarter to $107.3 million with same-store sales ahead 1.6%. The net loss widened to $19.8 million from $12.8 million but the prior-year period included numerous one-time benefits. Excluding benefits, the 2009 Q4 loss was $20.2 million.
For the year, net income for the boating retailer increased 6.9% to $13.2 million, or 57 cents a share. Sales moved up 5.8% to $588.4 million and grew 6.3% on a comp basis.
On a conference call with analysts, CEO Geoff Eisenberg said West Marine “experienced some good weather, and boaters appeared to go boating a bit more.” But he also believes West Marine's renewed sales momentum reflects some newer strategies. These include focusing on larger store formats. The average size of stores opened in 2010 was a little over 15,000 square feet versus the average size of 8,000 for those that were closed. West Marine plans to open about eight stores in 2011 while closing up to 19 although square footage will remain about flat since most of the new stores are larger.
Eisenberg also said West Marine is seeing a “very good customer response” to its expanded offerings in some core hard goods categories, including salt water fishing and engine parts, as well as in technical apparel, performance apparel, casual apparel and apparel accessories. The apparel push includes a particular focus on expanding its West Marine store brand, which currently makes up about 22% of sales. Its wholesale business is also benefiting from a new strategy of using its larger stores as mini-distribution centers for those customers.
For 2011, sales are expected to rise to $629 million to $635 million, with comps expected to be flat to up 1%. EPS is expected to climb between 14% to 28% to a range of 65 cents to 73 cents a share.