WATSONVILLE – Sunny days, strong sales in the wholesale boating market and a smaller competitor pool helped boost sales beyond expectations for West Marine, the largest boating supply and accessory company in the U.S., the company reported Thursday.
Net revenues for the 13-week quarter ending July 3 jumped $18 million or 8.4 percent compared to a year ago.
“We are very pleased with our second quarter sales results, which again were ahead of our internal expectations,” said Geoff Eisenberg, chief executive officer.
Strides were made in the second quarter despite setbacks with a new corporate Internet presence that negatively affected the company’s direct sales division, as well as increasing concerns about how the Gulf oil spill will impact boating in the southern coastal areas.
“In the southeast, we have been starting to feel the effects of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as boating activities are increasingly restricted,” Eisenberg said. “During the second quarter, we experienced a decrease in sales of products typically used by recreational boaters and fishermen; however, this was almost completely offset by sales of products which appear to be connected with fighting the oil spill.”
Net revenues for the year were $342.9 million, an increase of $26.6 million, or 8.4 percent from the same period a year ago. New store openings boosted sales $14.9 million, but the company closed other stores effectively reducing net revenues by $12.7
Eisenberg called the challenges with the westmarine.com site a short-term problem. Changes, he said “are worth the long-term benefits” which promise online improvements in speed, site searches and content. The company continues to benefit from the closure of competitor Boater’s World stores last year.
Company shares climbed 63 cents or more than 5.8 percent to close Thursday at $11.35. In the last year, shares have closed between $5.53 and $13.63.
The company, which has been consolidating its stores in recent years to serve larger regional markets with fewer stores, currently has 330 company-operated stores located in 38 states, Puerto Rico and Canada, in addition to two franchised stores in Turkey.
The company will further discuss the second quarter results during a public conference call with investors and analysts via the Internet on July 29.
This article was first published here.