Shares of Brookstone
The Nashua, N.H.-based retailer of specialty consumer products indicated that Q4 sales rose 8.5% to $237.8 million year-over-year, while earnings were up 3.1% to $33 million. With respect to the full-year results, the top line likewise saw solid growth -- revenue jumped 14.9% to $498.9 million.
But full-year income requires some explaining. As fellow Fool Seth Jayson has noted, Brookstone, like its competitor Sharper Image
Investing in Brookstone, then, requires patient monitoring to see that management is well positioned in time for the crucial Christmas season and that it's operating as efficiently as possible during the lean periods. Lately, Brookstone has done a good job on both fronts. The firm credited its robust results to an impressive direct-marketing effort, which involved doubling catalog circulation from the previous year to 30 million units. With this marketing push, the company's operating income as a percentage of sales, excluding lease accounting changes, hit 7.7% in 2004, the highest level the company has ever achieved.
With respect to strategy, Brookstone also seems to be on the ball. The company is stepping up its presence in airports, a move that makes sense, given that Brookstone products make for easy last-minute gifts, and considering that waiting travelers are often captives with little to do other than shop. In the product-development sphere, after noting heavy competition in the audio space from Apple's
Looking ahead, the firm expects fiscal 2005 earnings of between $1.20 and $1.25 per share. The stock has already enjoyed a nice run, but at 13.6 times the low end of those estimates, Brookstone shares may be worth a gander.
Fool contributor Brian Gorman is a freelance writer in Chicago. He does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article.