Cabela’s profit up 62 percent

outdoor retailer: Internet, catalog sales slide 8 percent

rboone@theolympian.comMay 2, 2012 

Outdoor gear retailer Cabela’s profit soared in its fiscal first quarter, rising 62 percent, but it was an 8 percent decline in Internet and catalog sales – the area of the business that generates what the company calls its direct revenue – that caught the attention of investors.

Cabela’s of Sidney, Neb., which operates a store in Lacey, earned a fiscal first-quarter profit of $28.8 million, or 40 cents a share, compared to net income of $17.8 million, or 25 cents a share in the same year-ago period.

Revenue increased across most of the company’s business segments, except for direct revenue, which fell 8.3 percent to $190.2 million.

Despite a 62 percent increase in net income, the company’s stock, which trades under the ticker symbol CAB, fell Tuesday, down 39 cents, or about 1 percent, to close at $37.42 a share.

Internet and catalog sales fell in the quarter, largely because of the competition discounting inventory in the quarter, Chief Executive Tommy Millner said.

Millner also told analysts in a conference call that its direct business has been struggling for about five years. Still, the company has plans to upgrade its website and mobile offerings, as well as leverage its Facebook page, which has 1.6 million to 1.7 million “friends,” he said.

Cabela’s has stores in Lacey, Tulalip and will soon have a store in Union Gap, near Yakima.

The Tulalip store opened last week, attracting a crowd that was “borderline frightening,” Millner told the analysts. He estimated the crowd size at 7,000 to 8,000 people.

Meanwhile, total revenue increased 6.3 percent to $623.5 million, including retail store revenue, which rose 14.4 percent.

Sales of guns, ammunition and fishing equipment were strong in the quarter, while weaker for “apparel-weighted” categories, Chief Financial Officer Ralph Castner said.

The company plans to boost its apparel offerings by launching a new women’s line of camouflage clothing called “Outfit-Her.”

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 rboone@theolympian.com

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