West Marine numbers improve

Santa Cruz SentinelIMG_5219

WATSONVILLE—Boating and water lifestyle supplier West Marine shrunk its fourth quarter loss compared to last year but reported Thursday a sharp drop in earnings per share.

The company’s stock price dropped precipitously more than 90 cents, closing Friday at $11.27. Shares have traded from $8.37 to $13.72 in the last year.

The loss, however, was smaller than expected and Matt Hyde, president and chief executive officer, said he was pleased with the “strong fourth quarter results.” Hyde cited the company’s shift to a broader, less seasonal customer, and said the company is making progress.

The company, which has more than 270 stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada, reported a $10.3 million fourth quarter earnings loss and a loss of 42 cents per share compared to a loss last year of about $11.2 million and a loss of 46 cents per share.

For the year, the company reported net revenues of $675.75 million compared to $663.17 million in 2013 and a net income of $1.95 million, or 8 cents per diluted share, compared to 32 cents per diluted earnings per share a year earlier.

Hyde called it “a year of continued investment” and said he was optimistic about the year ahead.

The mood at the annual boat show in Miami, Florida, earlier this month was upbeat, Hyde told investors and analysts on a conference call. “You get the feeling that all segments of the boating industry are strengthening as a result of an improved economy, lower unemployment and a drop in gas prices.”

The company 2015 forecast includes revenues of $6 million to $11 million and earnings per share of 14 cents to 27 cents.

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