Burlington Coat profits slip in 3Q

Don Hogsett, April 14, 2003

Even though sales climbed by more than 2 percent, third-quarter profits at Burlington Coat Factory warehouse slipped by 1.2 percent, to $36.7 million from $37.3 million last year, largely due to higher interest expense during the Christmas quarter.

Sales at the diversified retailer advanced by 2.6 percent, to $799.9 million from $779.8 million last year, due entirely to new store openings. But the crucial gauge of same-store sales fell by 2.5 percent.

Through its Luxury Linens division, Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse was the nation's 13th largest retailer of home textiles during 2002, with estimated home fashions sales of $273 million.

With margins holding steady at 35.4 percent, and operating costs unchanged at 26.6 percent of sales, operating profits were virtually flat during the third quarter, edging up by 0.4 percent, to $60.1 million from $59.8 million last year.

But taking a modest bite out of the bottom line, the retailer's interest expense climbed higher, rising to $1.0 million from just $109,000 last year.

For the nine months year-to-date, Burlington recorded a profit of $62.2 million, up 7.3 percent from $58.0 million the preceding year. Sales increased by 5.7 percent, to $2.1 billion from $2.0 billion, gaining on steady expansion. But same-store sales declined by 1.1 percent in a persistently weak retail environment.

During the nine months, Burlington opened 17 stores, while relocating three others. The company said it expects to open another five Burlington Coat Factory stores and one more MJM Designer Shoe store during the current fourth quarter. As of the close of the third quarter, the retailer operated 331 stores in 42 states.

Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corp.

Qtr. 3/1 (x000) 2003 2002 % chg
Sales $799,916 $779,820 2.6
Oper. income (EBIT) 60,094 59,841 0.4
Net income 36,726 37,306 -1.6
Per share (diluted) 0.83 0.84 -1.2
Average gross margin 35.4% 35.4%
SG&A expenses 26.6% 26.6%
Nine months 2003 2002 % chg
Sales 2,088,797 1,975,607 5.7
Oper. income (EBIT) 102,191 93,669 9.1
Net income 62,244 57,994 7.3
Per share (EBIT) 1.40 1.31 6.9
Average gross margin 36.8% 36.8%
SG&A expenses 30.5% 30.7%

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