Little Switzerland reports second-quarter loss

Little Switzerland, Inc., the Caribbean-based specialty retailer, reported a loss for the second quarter (a three-month period ended November 24, 2001) of $2.4 million or 15 cents per share compared to a loss the prior year of $700,000 or eight cents per share.

Results for the six-month period ended November 24, 2001, were a loss of $3.9 million or 24 cents per share compared to the prior year of $2.6 million or 31 cents per share. Last year, the company included a one-time gain on the settlement of an insurance claim of $1.4 million, excluding this gain, the loss for the three-month and six-month periods ended November 25, 2000, were $2.1 million and $4 million, respectively.

As previously reported, net sales for the three-month period ended November 24, 2001, were $11.2 million, a 1.7% decrease from net sales of $11.4 million for 2000. Net sales for the six-month period ended November 24, 2001, were $24.5 million, an increase of 14.7% from net sales of $21.3 million for the corresponding six-month period in 2000. Net sales for comparable stores decreased approximately 10.5% for the quarter ended November 24, 2001 compared to the corresponding period last year and increased 4.8% for the six-month period.

“Our second quarter of fiscal 2002 financial performance was adversely impacted by the events of September 11,” said Patrick J. Hopper, chief financial officer. “As our business depends heavily on tourism, disruptions and economic uncertainties caused by the events of September 11 had a material adverse impact on the quarterly results. In the months of October and November the company has taken many steps to tighten expenses and reduce inventory.”

Robert L. Baumgardner, president and CEO added, “We opened our first TIFFANY & CO. boutique in our Barbados location on December 18, 2001. Although the boutique has been opened only 3 weeks, we are excited about the positive effects to our store sales. Furthermore, our recent expansion into Key West with two new stores and a third store opening in late January will have a positive impact on total store sales and result in an incremental sales increase without adding significantly to Little Switzerland’s overhead structure. Unlike conventional retailers, January, February, and March are our peak selling season and we believe we are positioned to capitalize on increased consumer spending, as long as tourist traffic recovers.”

Little Switzerland, Inc. is a specialty retailer of brand name watches, jewelry, crystal, china, fragrances, and accessories, operating 19 stores on five Caribbean islands, Key West, and in 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.