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Hastings Holiday Sales Below Projections

18 Jan, 2007 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Consumer incentives, including electronics markdowns, and a competitive holiday shopping season helped Hastings Entertainment post Nov.-Dec. sales of $127.7 million, up 2% compared to last year but below company expectations.

Amarillo, Tex.-based Hastings, which operates 154 stores throughout the southwest, said the markdowns were designed to make room for the fiscal year 2007 merchandise plan.

“We are disappointed with sales and gross margins during the holiday season,” said CEO John Marmaduke, in a statement. “This holiday season was highly promotional; however, I strongly feel that the trends which are leading us to fall short of our full fiscal year guidance are a result of specific market factors occurring in the fourth quarter and are not indicative of the company's ability to produce increased growth in fiscal year 2007. We are focused on executing our new Discover Your Entertainment store model for profitable growth in fiscal year 2007.”

Hastings will issue fourth quarter (ending Jan. 31) results March 26. It posted a loss of $2.2 million last quarter despite a 16.9% increase in comparable same-store (open at least a year) video sales and a 2.7% increase in same-store video rentals.

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