Byline: Vicki M. Young

NEW YORK — Lands’ End’s first-quarter earnings tumbled 95.5 percent, and the catalog giant lowered sales and earnings estimates for the first half.
Income for the quarter ended April 28 was a mere $292,000, or 1 cent a share, compared with $6.5 million, or 21 cents, a year ago, and well short of Wall Street’s 16-cent consensus estimate. Sales fell 8.1 percent to $266 million.
The company said it has experienced strong acceptance of its revamped merchandising line in its primary catalogs, especially in the women’s division. Its business division, corporate sales, showed double-digit growth in the latest quarter. A spokeswoman said Internet sales at were twice that of 1999’s first-quarter results. The company doesn’t publicly disclose its Internet results by quarter. Overall, about 11 percent of the firm’s 1999 sales were from the Internet.
The Dodgeville, Wisc.-based firm said sales were down because of weakness in the kids’ division, soft sales in Japan, disappointing performance of the company’s prospecting catalogs and later mailings of the May primary catalog and the women’s tailored catalog. The later mailings, the firm added, will shift about $11 million in sales into the second quarter. Lands’ End said the discontinuation of the Willis & Geiger business last year added $11 million in liquidation sales in the comparable 1999 period.
Although Lands’ End said its revamped merchandise line is showing strong customer acceptance, first-half expectations for sales increases are now in the low-single-digit range from the previous mid-single-digit range. Expectations for earnings in the upcoming half were also revised downward.