Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Borders 2Q Loss Improves

On their call this morning Border's management sounded far more confident and at-ease in contrast to previous calls over the past several quarters. In the current economic environment and given the rebuilding effort going on at Borders their results were encouraging. From the press release:
Borders reported results for the second quarter, ended Aug. 2, 2008 and reported a second quarter loss from continuing operations of $11.3 million or $0.19 per share, representing an improvement over the same period last year when Borders Group recorded a loss of $18.1 million or $0.31 per share.

Borders Group achieved second quarter consolidated sales from continuing operations of $749.2 million, a decrease of 6.9% over 2007. As stated, the second quarter loss from continuing operations improved to $11.3 million or $0.19 per share compared to $18.1 million or $0.31 per share a year ago. The improvement was due primarily to expense reductions, lower interest expense and a tax benefit. Excluding non-operating adjustments, the second quarter loss from continuing operations improved to $10.5 million or $0.18 per share from $12.1 million or $0.21 per share a year ago.
CEO George Jones indicated that the Borders rewards program now has 28mm members. It has been very successful and email programs have great 'open-rates' and integrating with Internet site is generating great customer response. They are becoming more sophisticated in how they use the data associated with how their rewards customers buy - they are not just sending e-mail blasts. Since July when the Internet store "really got going" they have generated $7mm in revenue. Jones also said that they are in process of implementing interactive kiosks in the stores and that these will integrate with internet site.

CFO Wilheim noted that they are "sitting in a very comfortable position" from a cash and debt perspective. Jones stated that they have significantly improved the financial position of the company with respect to both debt (balance sheet) and expense reduction. They feel very proud of what they have done and confident that at least their commitments over the next 6-12mths will not pose a problem to the operations of the company. The company has really attacked their operating expenses and also successfully reduced inventory carry by 14%. The inventory reduction was done by eliminating titles that sold 1 copy per year per store.

The results were released yesterday after the close and their share price was up 13% in after hours trading.

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