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Retail blues hit Tuesday Morning    

Dallas – Off-price home furnishings retailer Tuesday Morning posted dreary fiscal first quarter results – but management emphasized a bright spot: reduced inventories.

During the 851-unit chain’s quarterly call this morning, Tuesday Morning president and ceo Kathleen Mason stressed the company’s inventory improvements year over year. The company ended the quarter with inventory of $307.1 million, down 11.2% overall from one year ago, and “a 15.2% decrease in inventory per store,” she said.

But sales have fallen at about the same rate, with quarterly volume of $173.4 million down 14.0% from $201.7 million in the year-ago period. Comparable plummeted 17.3%.

The quarterly net loss of $4.3 million or 10 cents per diluted share was a reversal of last year’s Q1 net income of $1.2 million or three cents per diluted share.

“We remain focused on producing annual profits and maintaining our exceptional balance sheet in what has been a prolonged downturn in the home furnishings sector in an unprecedented financial and credit crisis,” Mason continued.

“Seasonal and slow moving inventory have been addressed on a consistent basis,” she added.

“Certainly, all bankruptcies and subsequent liquidations and the advertising around them hurt other retailers in the same sector,” she said, responding to an analyst’s question on the matter of the Linens ’n Things demise. “We expect there to be additional liquidations in probably the short term. But there has been a prolonged influence from Linens ’n Things on our textiles business. We’ve seen that.”

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