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West Marine Reports Improved First Quarter 2012 Operating Results

West Marine, Inc. (Nasdaq:WMAR) today released unaudited financial results for the first quarter of 2012.

First Quarter 2012 Highlights:
  • Net revenues were $121.5 million, an increase of 6.7% versus last year.
  • Comparable store sales increased by 4.3%.
  • Pre-tax loss was $10.6 million, a 13.5%, or $1.7 million improvement versus last year. (Due to seasonality, West Marine has historically reported a loss for the first quarter.)
  • Net loss per share was $(0.27) compared to $(0.55) in 2011. (2012 net loss reflected the significant favorable impact of a change in effective tax rate to a benefit of 41.2% this year versus a provision of 0.5% last year.)
  • At quarter end, the company was debt-free. At the end of the comparable period last year, West Marine had $21.1 million outstanding under its credit facility.
  • Inventory per square foot decreased by 4.3% compared to the first quarter last year.

Geoff Eisenberg, West Marine’s CEO, commented: “2012 is off to a strong start for West Marine and we are encouraged by these results. The success of our growth strategies, combined with a relatively warm and dry Spring, puts us in a great position as we enter our key boating season. Our outstanding teams of Associates continued to manage the business effectively and deliver improved bottom line results.”

2012 First Quarter Results

Net revenues for the 13 weeks ended March 31, 2012 were $121.5 million, up 6.7 % compared to net revenues of $113.8 million for the 13 weeks ended April 2, 2011. Revenues in the Stores segment were $108.1 million, up $7.9 million, or 7.9%, compared to the same period last year. Comparable store sales grew by 4.3% versus the same period last year. We believe this growth was driven by both internal and external factors. We experienced higher sales in all core categories during the first quarter, especially maintenance-related products, which we believe were related to the dry, warm weather and early Spring experienced this year across most areas of the country. We also saw growth in our soft goods categories, reflecting the success of our merchandise expansion strategy. Our revenues from stores opened or expanded in 2011 and the first three months of 2012 contributed $13.8 million to our Stores segment. The impact of stores closed during these same periods effectively reduced revenues by $9.2 million. The majority of the closures were a result of our ongoing real estate optimization strategy to evolve into having fewer, larger stores.

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