I have the feeling that management at Cost Plus
After a dismal fourth quarter that dragged its fiscal full-year results into negative territory, management actually announced that it's pleased with its performance: "We are making considerable progress in our turnaround effort, although the full impact of our operational and strategic initiatives will not be evident until fiscal 2008."
Management went on to say it's increasing the amount of lower-priced, high-volume products. Why would it do that? So that it can continue its trend of selling a larger number of items at no profit?
For its fiscal fourth quarter, Cost Plus earned $7.5 million, or $0.34 per diluted share, 59% lower than last year. As if its fourth-quarter performance weren't bad enough, it reported a loss of $22.5 million, or $1.02 per share, for the full year. That's despite an increase in quarterly sales of 8.1% to $396.7 million, and a gain in annual sales of 7.2% to $1.04 billion. I think that may be the only positive piece of news in the entire report. The company's quarterly comps were 3.9% lower, and annual comps fell 3.3% on top of last year's 2.6% decline.
Cost Plus expects more of the same in the first quarter this year, with losses projected at $12 million to $13 million, and comps predicted to plummet by 8%. The yearly projections aren't any better. Remember, it doesn't expect to benefit from its brilliant initiatives until fiscal 2008.
If you didn't notice, I'm not exactly confident in the abilities of Cost Plus to provide any value to investors anytime soon, if ever. It's operating in an extremely competitive market that has taken a toll on the likes of Pier 1
But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the new management team will get Cost Plus back on track and back to profitability. We just need to wait for more than a year to find out.
For more on the costly mistakes at Cost Plus, check out:
- Costs Rise at Cost Plus: Fool by Numbers
- Foolish Forecast: Pier 1 Is Sinking
- Foolish Forecast: Cost Plus, Profits Minus?
Fool contributor Mike Cianciolo welcomes feedback and doesn't own any of the companies mentioned in this article.