business news in context, analysis with attitude

  • Fleming Companies posted a loss from continuing operations of $1.5 million for the third quarter of 2002. The 2002 third quarter loss compares to income of $16.5 million from continuing operations in the prior year's third quarter. Net sales for the third quarter were $3.97 billion, a 12.5 percent increase compared to $3.53 billion last year. The 2002 and 2001 third quarter results include the company's continuing distribution operations and exclude the price impact retail operations, which the company plans to divest and which are reflected as discontinued operations on the company's financial statements.

  • CBS MarketWatch reports that Wal-Mart’s president and CEO, Tom Coughlin, has told a conference that the company projects that its earnings for fiscal 2002 will reach $1.76 a share, a penny above earlier predictions. At the very least, this suggests that Wal-Mart believes in can buck the tough economic news that has been plaguing so many of the nation’s retailers.

  • Analysts believe that, the poster child for the entire dot-com industry, is likely to post a profit for the entire year, driven by a free-shipping incentive program and strong growth overseas. A lot of these expectations are pegged to fourth quarter performance, as the company expects to generate as much as $1.25 billion in sales during the final three months of the year.

  • reported that third quarter net sales were $47.4 million and grew by $12.4 million or 35 percent from the third quarter of 2001, and gross margin increased to 19.7 percent, up from 17.1 percent one year ago.
    Net sales increased by 35 percent to $47.4 million. Net revenue per order increased by 4 percent, or $3, to $69. Gross margin increased for the thirteenth consecutive quarter to 19.7 percent, up from 17.1 percent one year ago.

    The dot-com also announced that it acquired 196,000 new customers, bringing the total customer base to approximately 3 million, that orders from repeat customers in the quarter represented 72 percent of all orders, and that marketing and sales expenses declined to a record low of 7.6 percent of net sales, down from 22 percent in third quarter 2001, and 16 percent in second quarter 2002. Marketing and sales expense per new customer dropped to an all-time low of $18.

KC's View: