RAPAPORT... Birks & Mayors reported revenue increased 17 percent year on year to $129.9 million during its first fiscal-half that closed on September 24. Comparable-store sales rose 6 percent. Cost of sales rose 13 percent to $72.3 million, but the jeweler reported a net loss of $5.6 million, which was down from a loss of $9.5 million one year ago.
During the first six months of the retailer's fiscal year, new stores generated $4.9 million in sales and Birks & Mayors recorded a sales gain of $4.3 million due to the stronger Canadian dollar. Birks & Mayors reported an increase in the ''average sale'' as well as an increase in sales transactions in the U.S.
Gross profit was 44.3 percent of net sales, up from 42.7 percent one year ago. The 160 basis point increase was primarily attributable to retail price increases and a reduction in promotional pricing activities.
Inventory totaled $146 million on September 24, representing nearly a 4 percent increase year-on-year and this increase was largely due to the higher costs of precious metals, diamonds and Swiss timepieces.
Tom Andruskevich, the president of Birks & Mayors, said, ''During the first half of the fiscal year we continued to generate strong improvements in our performance even during the continuing uncertain economic environment. We are encouraged by the progress we have achieved in executing our merchandising and marketing strategies resulting in improved sales, gross margin and operating profit so far this year and will continue to focus on generating increases in sales and gross profits throughout the holiday season in order to return the company to profitability. In addition, we plan to continue to control expenses, manage the level and productivity of our inventory, and limit capital expenditures while continuing to focus on providing superior customer service and maintaining strong client relationships.''