Little Switzerland reports a decline in comparable store sales

The drop in the travel industry is continuing to have an adverse impact on sales at Little Switzerland, Inc., the Caribbean-based specialty retailer. The company reported Friday that comparable store sales for the quarter ended February 23 were down 8.9% from the prior year. On an all store basis, the company, based in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, reported a sales increase of 0.1% from the prior year.

“The company is still experiencing adverse sales results due to the impact on the travel and leisure business by the events of September 11, 2001,” Robert L. Baumgardner, president and CEO, said in a statement. “This coupled with a mild winter in the United States, has adversely impacted vacation travel to Caribbean resort destinations this winter season. With traffic levels depressed, our emphasis has shifted to improving gross margins while reducing overhead expenses to lessen the impact of these factors on financial results for the second half of the fiscal year. Finally, the company is gratified with the results in our new Key West locations which has helped supplement overall sales.”

Little Switzerland, Inc. is a leading specialty retailer of brand name watches, jewelry, crystal, china and accessories, operating in 21 stores on five Caribbean islands, Florida, and Alaska. The company’s primary market consists of vacationing tourists attracted by free-port pricing, duty-free allowances and a wide variety of high quality merchandise.