Birks & Mayors Sales Up 7%; Same-store Sales Up 4% for 2007

Birks & Mayors Inc. said Wednesday that net sales increased 6.9 percent to $294.3 million for the 2007 fiscal year, when compared to the prior year. Same-store sales increased 4 percent for the year, following an 11 percent gain in the prior year for the Montreal-based retailer, which operates 67 luxury jewelry stores in Canada, Florida, and Georgia.

Other Financial Highlights for the 53-week period include:

* Gross margin expanded by 130 basis points to 48.3% of net sales;

* Operating income increased 38.8 percent to $20.4 million, or 6.9 percent of net sales, as compared to $14.7 million, or 5.3 percent of net sales in the prior year period; and

* Net income increased 129.7 percent to $13.1 million, or $1.11 per diluted share, as compared to $5.7 million, in the prior year period.

“Fiscal 2007 represented a strong year of growth for our company,” said Tom Andruskevich, president and chief executive officer. “We believe that our better-than-expected top and bottom line results demonstrate that our strategies to provide our clients with unique assortments and deliver superior and personalized customer service while increasing the percentage of our internally produced products are working and leading to increased profitability and earnings per share.”

For the fourth quarter, same-store sales increased 3 percent following an 8 percent increase in the prior year period. Gross margin expanded by 150 basis points to 45.9 percent of net sales. The company’s operating loss improved 34.9 percent to $2.4 million, as compared to a $3.6 million operating loss in the prior year period. Net loss improved 66.9 percent to $1.9 million, as compared to a $5.8 million net loss in the prior year period.

The company said it expects fiscal 2008 net sales (which will be a 52-week period, one less week than in 2007) to increase in the mid single digit range. Gross margins are projected to continue to expand more modestly than it has in 2007. The company expects earnings before taxes to grow in the high single digit range due to increased marketing and store-level incentive programs.

“As we look ahead, we believe we are well positioned for future growth,” Andruskevich said. “In addition to intensifying our efforts to develop the Birks brand through a variety of marketing programs, including increased advertising investments and strengthening the in-store visual presentation of the Birks brand, we have also identified initiatives to execute our strategy of emphasizing exclusivity with third party brands such as H. Stern and Van Cleef & Arpels. Finally, our store expansion plans remain on track and include the opening of two new stores during Fiscal 2008. We believe these initiatives, combined with significant opportunities to grow both internally and through acquisitions, allow the company to be poised to continue its positive sales and earnings momentum.”