Friday, January 11, 2008

Borders Reports Holiday Sales

Borders reported consolidated sales increased 3.9% for the nine week holiday period versus the same period last year. Domestic superstores sales increased 6.5% and same store sales increased 2.4%. Books increased a "solid" 3.4% on a comp basis and the company saw large increases in Seattle Coffee and Paperchase revenues. Compatible with the holiday results reported by B&N, Borders also saw a significant drop in Music. Same stores sales at Walden were essentially flat but the group was significantly lower in total due to an aggressive program of store closures. The company has 136 fewer Walden outlets than at the same time last year.

These results reflected 'continuing operations' and the company included international operations in the press release. International revenues increased 36% including currency gains. Sames store comps were driven by strong performance in Australia. (It makes one wonder why they need to sell up down-under but I've already made that observation).

The real crux of these results is the impact they have on operating margin and as B&N were sanguine about their full year results and adjusted eps accordingly, this is what George Jones had to say about Borders results:
Still, the overall holiday shopping environment was intensely promotional and impacted the bottom line more than we anticipated. As a result, we anticipate fourth quarter consolidated operating earnings per share from continuing operations (excluding non- operating charges and discontinued operations) to be flat to down slightly compared to last year's $1.45 per share (excluding non-operating charges and discontinued operations). Overall, we continue to move forward with confidence in our strategic plan for a turnaround of the company and are encouraged by the progress we are making."

Borders will report in March.

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