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Income Up At SPAR Group

23 Apr, 2003 By: Holly J. Wagner

Marketing services company SPAR Group, Inc. today announced strong increases in revenues and income for its first quarter ended March 31.

The company does retail stocking and promotional setups for a number of studio home entertainment divisions in the grocery, drug and mass merchant sectors.

Net income for the three-month period advanced 165 percent to $1.3 million, or $.07 per fully diluted share, from $482,000, or $.03 per fully diluted share, for the comparable prior-year period. Net revenues for the 2003 first quarter rose 20 percent to $19.3 million from $16 million a year ago.

The company attributed its positive results primarily to programs implemented last year to enhance the sales and marketing functions of its products and services, as well as to its technological innovations.

Results also benefited from related efficiencies of scale and continued attention to cost management.

"The results are particularly gratifying because in the current challenging economic environment, clients recognize that SPAR's unique merchandising expertise can help enhance their sales and profitability," SPAR Group chairman and CEO Bob Brown said. "Increasingly, forward-thinking, bottom-line oriented companies in the retail, as well as manufacturing sectors, are turning to SPAR. They realize that our ability to collect quality information on a real time basis, enables them to act immediately. When you couple that with the ability to deploy people where needed at the retail level, you have a positive, measurable impact on both their sales and market share. We believe the immediate outlook for SPAR Group remains strong and anticipate a solid year ahead."

The company announced earlier this week that it has gained a foothold in Canada with the pending acquisition of of Impulse Merchandising Services, a division of kaBOOM! Entertainment Inc. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Toronto-based Impulse provides the same type of merchandising services to the mass market, grocery and select specialty retail sectors. SPAR expects to close by May 30.

"The addition of the Impulse Merchandising Services business to the SPAR family expands our presence in the Canadian market and opens new opportunities for SPAR," Brown said. "Recent research we have conducted indicates that Canadian companies were not receiving the same value from their merchandising investments as were U.S. companies. We believe our systems will provide value-added services that will help increase productivity and profitability for Canadian retailers in virtually all classes of trade."

Top leadership at Impluse will remain after the transaction, Brown said.

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