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Whitehall announces Q4 & fiscal 2007 operating results

May '08
Whitehall Jewelers Holdings Inc reported financial results for the fiscal fourth quarter and fiscal year ended February 2, 2008.

Fourth Quarter Results:
For the fiscal 2007 fourth quarter ended February 2, 2008, net sales were $85.3 million compared with $102.3 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2006. Of the sales decrease, $0.6 million was attributable to store closings and stores closed for remodeling for limited periods.

Comparable store sales decreased 13.8% in the fourth quarter compared to the same period in fiscal 2006 primarily due to worsening economic conditions and less consumer spending on discretionary jewelry items.

Gross profit for the fiscal 2007 fourth quarter was $29.4 million, or 34.5% of net sales, compared with $36.8 million, or 36.0% of net sales, in the same period a year ago. The decrease in gross profit was primarily due to lower net sales partially offset by higher margins. The decrease in gross profit as a percent of sales is attributed to the de-leveraging effect of the sales decline on occupancy costs partially offset by an increase in net merchandise margins.

For the fiscal 2007 fourth quarter, net loss was $24.6 million, including $23.0 million of non-cash impairment charges. Excluding the write-off of certain goodwill and long-lived assets, the net loss would have been $1.6 million. This compares with net income of $0.9 million in the fourth quarter ended January 31, 2007.

The $1.6 million net loss was primarily attributable to lower gross profit due to reduced sales partially offset by lower selling general and administrative and interest expenses. On a per share basis, the loss was $0.62, or $0.04 on a non-GAAP basis, excluding the non-cash impairment charges. This compares to net income of $0.04 per share for fiscal fourth quarter 2006.

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