Hancock Fabrics ends 2009 in black

By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal

BALDWYN – Craft and fabric retailer Hancock Fabrics has posted an annual profit for the first time in five years.
The company reported net income of $1.8 million for fiscal year 2009, according to a press release issued late Wednesday night. The profit comes a year after Hancock posted a net loss of $12.4 million.
“While this earnings level is by no means acceptable to our organization, it is a significant milestone and a vast improvement over the $114 million loss over the past four years,” said CEO Jane Aggers in a conference call Thursday morning.
She said the positive results come after five years of changes for the company, including store closures, layoffs and new management.
During that span, Hancock also filed and emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Aggers attributed some of the income to improved product costs in 2009. CFO Rob Driskell added that the company has been paying down its debt, reducing its interest payments by about $700,000 from the previous year.
For the year, Hancock reported net sales of $274.1 million, down from $276.4 million a year earlier. Same-store sales – considered by analysts a key measure of a retailer’s health – were up 0.2 percent compared to a 2.1 percent growth in the prior-year period.
As of Jan. 30, Hancock had 3,900 employees in 266 stores in 37 states and 300 employees at its headquarters in Baldwyn.
Driskell said the company doesn’t plan to change the employee count “significantly” in 2010.

Click video to hear audio