BURLINGTON COAT NET UP 35.4%

NEW YORK — “The customers voted at the cash registers,” Monroe Milstein, chairman of Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corp., said Friday, after the off-pricer reported record second-quarter earnings of $66 million, or $1.64 a share.
The Burlington, N.J.-based company said it had a 35.4 percent gain from $48.8 million, or $1.20 a share, recorded a year earlier.
Sales for the three months ended Dec. 28 rose 12.3 percent to $740 million from $658.6 million.
Burlington’s stock closed up 1 1/8 to 14 1/8 on the New York Stock Exchange Friday. Milstein said customers returned to Burlington Coat Factory in “droves.”
Apparently, other off-pricers are also seeing more traffic. Recently, Dress Barn reported January same-store sales gained 29 percent and Loehmann’s overall January sales rose 13.3 percent.
The surge at off-pricers may be coming at the expense of discounters, which generally don’t carry broad brand assortments.
Retailers have cited a renewed consumer interest in brands and designer labels.
Milstein said results at Burlington Coat showed significant improvements in operating margins. He added that the company ended the current quarter with $288.5 million in cash and short term investments and did not have any bank borrowings outstanding. “Our improved cash position also had an impact on our results, increasing investment income.”
For the six months, earnings jumped 46.6 percent to $55.2 million, or $1.36 a share, from $37.6 million, or 92 cents a share.
Sales grew 10 percent to $1.04 billion from $94.9 million.

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