By  on January 23, 2009

Harmed by the slowdown in discretionary spending, jeweler Birks & Mayors Inc. reported that net sales during its holiday season decreased by 31 percent.

The Montreal-based retailer said its sales for the period from Nov. 2 through Dec. 29 brought in just $66 million, down from $95.9 million a year earlier. The company said that based on a weaker Canadian dollar, it lost $7.7 million in currency translation into U.S. dollars.

The jeweler also reported that comparable-store sales for the period last year dropped 26 percent. Comps in the U.S. fell 31 percent, while comps slid 19 percent in Canada.   

“This year’s holiday season has proven to be extremely difficult given the challenging retail environment, especially for the luxury and jewelry sectors,” said Thomas Andruskevich, president and chief executive officer. “The losses suffered by investors in the equity markets, historically low consumer confidence and lack of visibility in the economic outlook resulted in a significant reduction in consumer spending.”

Andruskevich said that the Birks & Mayors will continue to manage its business in a “manner that achieves increased organizational and asset efficiency, and deploy more innovative retail marketing and merchandising techniques.”

In the most recent quarter, the retailer trimmed its second-quarter net loss to $2.1 million, or 18 cents a share, from a loss of $3.5 million, or 31 cents a share, for the year-ago period. Net sales for the three months ended Sept. 27 edged up 2.2 percent to $61.2 million. The company, which operates 37 Birks stores in Canada, 31 Mayors stores in Florida and two Birkhaus retail locations in Calgary and Vancouver, will report third-quarter earnings in February.

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