FINANCE

Dover Saddlery expects higher revenues in Q4

BY Dan Berthiaume

Littleton, Mass. — Preliminary unaudited revenues for Dover Saddlery during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013 exceeded revenues in the fourth quarter of 2012 by 13.8%, increasing to approximately $30.3 million. Revenues from the retail channel increased 22.6% to approximately $13.1 million and revenues from the direct channel increased 7.8% to approximately $17.2 million.

"We are very pleased that the seasonal promotions run in the fourth quarter of 2013 produced such strong results, particularly in light of the short holiday season,” said Stephen L. Day, president and CEO of Dover Saddlery. “In addition, improvements made to our online channel throughout the year yielded impressive results in the fourth quarter.”

Dover Saddlery plans to report the audited fourth quarter and full year 2013 results on or about March 27, 2014.

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OPERATIONS

L Brands names bank exec to board

BY Dan Berthiaume

Columbus, Ohio – L Brands has named Stephen D. Steinour to its board of directors. Steinour is chairman, president and CEO of Huntington Bancshares Inc., a $59 billion regional bank holding company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.

"I am excited to welcome Steve to our board," said Leslie H. Wexner, chairman and CEO of L Brands. "I’m confident that his considerable expertise in business, finance and customer service will provide valuable insight and guidance to our company. We’re extremely fortunate that he has joined our team."

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News

Amazon’s big miss and modest outlook

BY CSA STAFF

Amazon.com may have achieved record fourth-quarter sales of $25.6 billion, but its top line was well below what analysts expected and so were profits.

The company’s sales increased 20% to $25.6 billion during the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, compared to $21.3 billion the prior year. Analysts had forecast sales of slightly more than $26 billion. Meanwhile, Amazon said it earned profits of $239 million, or 51 cents a share, well ahead of prior year figures of $97 million and 21 cents a share, but substantially below the 74 cents analysts were expecting.

Fulfillment and marketing expenses weighed on the company’s profitability. Fulfillment expenses increased 29% to $2.9 billion and marketing costs increased 33% to more than $1.1 billion.

Undeterred that sales and profits were less than what others expected and resulted in a massive decline in the stock price after the market closed, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said it is a good time to be an Amazon customer.

“You can now read your Kindle gate-to-gate, get instant on-device tech support via our revolutionary Mayday button, and have packages delivered to your door even on Sundays,” Bezos said. “In just the last weeks, Forrester, YouGov, and ForeSee have all ranked Amazon number one, and we believe we’re just scratching the surface of what world-class customer service can be.”

There are plenty of customers who already believe Amazon is tops when it comes to customer service. The company’s full year sales increased 22% to $74.5 billion compared with $61 billion last year and during the holidays access was restricted to the flat rate shipping service branded as Amazon Prime because it is so popular. Despite the huge sales volume, the company’s operating income advanced 10% during 2013 to only $745 million from $676 million. And looking ahead to the first quarter Amazon offered the typically wide range of possibilities and said sales could increase between 13% and 24% to $18.2 to $19.9 billion. Meanwhile, operating profits were forecast to range from a loss of $200 million to a profit of $200 million compared to a gain of $181 million during the first quarter the prior year.

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