LANDS’ END SEES BRIGHTER HORIZON

NEW YORK — A strong start to the year has led Lands’ End to raise its outlook for fiscal 2003.
For the first eight weeks of the fiscal year, the Dodgeville, Wis.-based direct retailer reported a 10 percent increase in total revenue compared with the year-ago period. The robust sales, which exceeded management’s plan, were partially attributable to Easter falling two weeks earlier this year, the company stated.
Additionally, early gains in gross profit margin were another pleasant surprise for the company. Given the increase, Lands’ End said if the current trend continues, it might exceed its previous guidance of a 30- to 70-basis-point full-year improvement.
While cautioning that it is still early and that its business is highly seasonal, the firm said the promising early results could allow it to exceed its previous guidance of a high-single-digit to low-double-digit increase in diluted earnings per share for fiscal 2003.
Previous guidance put the company’s earnings below current consensus estimates of $2.54, a figure 13.9 percent higher than the $2.23 achieved in fiscal 2002.
Lands’ End now anticipates revenue will increase in the single-digit range for this 52-week year compared with last year’s 53 weeks.

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