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>>>>CONFERCNCE CALL NOTES<<<< well, after seeing the dow jones story headline (Braun's Fashions Sees 4Q Comparisons Difficult), i was kinda nervous, but the headline was not accurate in the sense of that there are problems ahead....the facts are that last year's 4th Q was extremely good and Braun's acknowledges that they won't that good this year....also, last year had no tax cost impact, due to carryover losses.... >>company looks for mid-single digit sales growth going forward. >>store count is 180; they will be closing 1 store in february. >>no new stores until march. >>sweaters, knits, trousers----are the best performing segments. >>december on target to make projections. >>they have an optimistic view of business going forward. >>very comfortable with estimates for the 4th Q. >>S.E. Asia; it's too early to tell the impact of cast benefits; but the company does buy in U.S. $. >>CEO Cook stock sales were for diversation. he had held stock 11 years. he still has options on 96,000 shares. the sell was dictated by company policy regarding the timing of sell; this was the window Cook had. >>there were 10 analysts with questions. >>Cook was called down for not doing a better job of communicating and disclosure of the press release today; ie, the way that dowjones presented the story with neagtive overtones; when in fact this was a very good Q. >>company, as best as they could considering the limitations concerning forward-looking statements, does feel good about the business going forward. ....they have to do the obligatory CYA.
i won't get into any #'s here, just my initial observations of the CC.
>>>>GOOD DECEMBER<<<< i expect good december sales numbers to be reported out by braun's next week. they will be reporting their december #'s for the 4-week period ending last saturday (12/27) early next week. i believe maybe on tuesday. this has not been a pretty picture the past 10 days. today was encouraging though. maybe some leakage of the good news??
a new J.C. Bradford research report is out today. they are reiterating a 'buy now' recommendation. they are looking for mid-single digit sales gains for the next few months. 12 month price target is $20. i think they have left some room for some upside surprises. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
as long as Nick Cook remains Chairman, i won't be getting too excited about BFCI anytime soon........they have a lot of "show me the numbers" to do.
MANAGEMENT CHANGES<<<<<<<< This info came out last friday, february 27th....i have been out-of-pocket for a week and just noticed it..... William J. Prange, 43, is now CEO. he joined Braun's in 1994 as senior v-p/general merchandising manager. Joseph Pennington to executive v-p/chief operating officer. Ralph C. Neal to executive v-p/store operations. Kathryn Gangstee to senior v-p/general merch. manager. Andrew Moller to v-p finance/chief financial officer.
Herbert D. Froemming, vice-chairman, has chosen to take early retirement; but will continue with braun's over the next few months to facilitate an orderly transition.
Nicholas H. Cook will relinquish his CEO title, but will continue as Chairman of the board.
comments by Cook, "It is very gratifying to see our long-term succession plan come to fruition with Bill Prange becoming CEO and the promotion of his top people to senior management positions. Bill and this new management team have been very instrumental in creating a new Braun's, with stronger merchandising, store identity and operating disciplines. This management team has already demonstrated the ability to lead the company and their new positions will give them even greater opportunities for success."
Braun's will take a 4th Q pretax charge of $775,000 (.13 cents/share) on its executive succssion plan. the charge is mostly non-cash and is related to vesting of previously issued stock options. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ well, the Prange team is the group that has resurrected BFCI, so this is good. however, Cook is still in the loop and this will still have negative undertones in the analysts' community. Cook is now the only pre-bankruptcy holdover in the top management group.
FEBRUARY SAME-STORE-SALES, etc<<<<<<<<<<<< february same-store-sales @ +2% 4th Q same-store-sales @ +5%
comments by Bill Prange, the new president/CEO: "February is typically one of Braun's slowest months of the year from a sales standpoint, a time when we sell off our remaining fall and holiday merchandise and prepare for the spring season. We have accomplished our mission--our inventory is in excellent shape and we are well-positioned to feature our spring assortments." "We are pleased with our fiscal year-end results, with this February marking our 18th consecutive month of increased same-store sales comparisons." +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++=
Nancy Scott has been named v-p/real estate. Scott brings over 10 years of experience in leasing real estate for major retail chains; most recently at Pacific Sunwear.
MARCH SAME-STORE-SALES<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< yes, a month has gone by and i'm back with the latest report.
march same-store-sales: -14% the company reports that this decrease follows last years exceptionally strong march, when same-store -sales were up 35%.
comments by Bill Prange, President/CEO: "March sales were dramatically affected by the 2-week shift of the Easter holiday selling season between this year and last year. Last year, our same-store-sales were up 35% for the month of March and up 77% in the final week of March, which led up to the Easter holiday. We expect the shift in Easter to have a more significent impact on our March same-store sales than those of most other retailers, as our fiscal March is a 4-week month compared to a 5-week month for most other retailers. Because of the shift in Easter, March and April should be viewed as one sales period for comparative purposes." "Our spring assortments have been well-received by our customers and we expect significant improvement in April same-store-sales."
additionally, the company said spring snowstorms in early March caused the closing of certain stores for 51 "store Days" and reduced mall traffic in other store locations.
looks like the new CEO is attempting to put the best spin on the same-store-sales reporting for this month......last year was going to be a tough nut to crack ( +35%) anyway; and i doubt not too many other retailers were up that much last year.....i was expecting this double-digit down % and also thought BFCI might take another hit today; but no, up 1 1/4 on the bid..........so, it looks like all the bad news is out and that going forward, good things are expected........this new guy is going to good for us...........