Leather outerwear, accessories and apparel maker Wilsons The Leather Experts Inc reported that sales for the five weeks ended December 31, 2005 decreased 8.9 percent to $110.2 million as compared to $120.9 million for the five weeks ended January 1, 2005.
Year-to-date sales decreased 9.7 percent to $370.6 million compared to $410.6 million for the same period last year.
Sales for the prior year-to-date period included approximately $20.8 million in liquidation sales resulting from the transfer of inventory to an independent liquidator.
Comparable store sales decreased 7.7 percent for the five weeks ended December 31, 2005; this decrease compares to a 4.7 percent decrease in comparable store sales for the five weeks ended January 1, 2005.
Year-to-date comparable store sales decreased 2.2 percent compared to an increase of 0.8 percent in the same period last year.
Comparable store sales for the prior year-to-date period do not include sales from stores that were liquidated.
Commenting on these results, Michael Searles, Chief Executive Officer, said, "Their comparable store sales results for the month were below expectations.
Reduced traffic in their stores negatively impacted sales during the month.
While their sales performance was disappointing, their gross margin rates for the month came in higher than planned and exceeded last year.
The improvement in their margin rates with respect tolast year offset some of their sales shortfall."
Wilsons Leather is the leading specialty retailer of leather outerwear, accessories and apparel in the United States.
As of December 31, 2005, Wilsons Leather operated 428 stores located in 45 states, including 304 mall stores, 110 outlet stores and 14 airport stores.
The Company regularly supplements its permanent mall stores with seasonal stores during its peak selling season from October through January.