MERRIMACK, N.H.-With sales heading in a positive direction, Brookstone shaved its first-quarter net loss from $16.7 million last year to $14.7 million this year.
Net sales in the quarter, which ended on March 30, edged up 0.6 percent to $89.6 million, including a pickup of 2.1 percent in comparable sales across all channels. Brookstone made its biggest sales gains in its e-commerce channel, with an increase of 12.8 percent, and in its alternative-distribution channel (which includes its wholesale business), which registered a pickup of 24 percent. Sales in the retail channel were down 4.2 percent, with a same-store sales drop of 1.2 percent.
Jim Speltz, Brookstone’s president and CEO, said the e-commerce sector has experienced growth in website traffic, catalog productivity and in customer files. In an attempt to bolster the retail results, Speltz said Brookstone has refocused its product strategy for this year on “relevant and timely gifts” oriented around Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day and the end-of-the-year holidays.
Gross margin finished down 218 basis points at 20.5 percent. Selling, general and administrative expenses decreased by 10.9 percent in dollars and 411 basis points as a percentage of sales, to 31.8 percent.