Hancock narrows 2Q loss

By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal

BALDWYN – Baldwyn-based Hancock Fabrics narrowed its losses for the second quarter by more than $1 million.
The craft and fabric retailer on Wednesday also reported an increase in same-store sales and in net sales.
In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Hancock reported a net loss of $757,000, compared to a net loss in last year’s second quarter of nearly $2.3 million.
For the most recent quarter, which ended July 31, the company reported net sales of $60.5 million, up slightly from $59.6 million in the prior-year quarter.
Same-store sales – a key health measurement in the retail industry – also improved, with Hancock reporting 0.7 percent growth compared to a 4.2 percent drop in the comparable period.
In a conference call Wednesday, Hancock Executive Vice President and CFO Rob Driskell attributed the growth to an increase in transaction counts and in average ticket amounts.
CEO Jane Aggers on the call said cotton, quilting and apparel sales were strong during the quarter, as well.
Hancock also had a bright spot with its operating income, which was $590,000, up $1.3 million from the prior-year period.
However, Hancock took a hit from bankruptcy reorganization expenses, interest expenses and losses from continuing operations, which resulted in the company posting a net loss for the quarter.
The company emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2008 and last week the bankruptcy court officially closed the cases.
“I’m pleased to say that is all behind us now and is no longer a distraction,” Aggers said on Wednesday’s call with analysts and investors.
Aggers also said the company has been “pleased” and “very encouraged” with a test of adding an expanded craft assortment into 14 stores, including the Tupelo store on North Gloster Street.
She said sales in some of the stores have posted percentage increases in the mid-teens, while other stores have failed to meet expectations.
On the call, Aggers and Driskell declined to elaborate about the Tupelo store’s results.
Aggers said the company will continue to tweak the test stores before rolling out the craft assortment to all 266 stores.
Aggers also said Hancock has partnered with Etsy.com, an e-commerce site for crafters, for two events in New York City. The retailer also has more than 23,000 fans on Facebook, Aggers said.
Hancock ended the quarter with 4,000 employees in the stores and 300 employees at the corporate office in Baldwyn.

Contact Carlie Kollath at (662) 678-1598 or carlie.kollath@djournal.com.