August 18, 2003, 12:00 AM

Q2 sales at ToysRUs.com jump 21% to $51 million from a year ago

Web sales are 2.4% of total Q2 sales of $2.14 billion and 2.5% of total sales for the first half at parent Toys R Us Inc. Their rate of increase outshines U.S. Toy Store division’s increase.

Second-quarter sales at ToysRUs.com reached $51 million, an increase of 21% from Q2 2002 sales of $42 million, the company reported today. Sales for the first six months of 2003 were $110 million compared to $88 million in 2002, a 25% increase. Operating loss for the second quarter was reduced to $8 million, an improvement of 43% over an operating loss of $14 million for the second quarter of 2002. For the six months ended August 2, the operating loss narrowed to $16 million from an operating loss of $28 million a year earlier.

Online sales represented 2.4% of total sales for the quarter and 2.5% for the year to date. Web sales were 2% of total sales in the year-ago quarter and 2% in the first half.

Companywide Toys R Us Inc. narrowed its net loss for the second quarter to $11 million from $17 million in the year-ago quarter, on total sales that rose 3.3% to $2.14 billion from $2.07 billion year ago. For the first half, Toys R Us Inc. posted a net loss of $18 million versus a net loss of $21 million a year ago, on year-to-date sales that rose 3.4% to $4.31 billion from $4.17 billion a year ago. The figures exclude the impact of currency conversions.

Sales growth at ToysRUus.com outstripped comparable store sales. Driven largely by an 18% decline over a year in the video game business, comparable store sales decreased 2.4% for the quarter from a year ago. Operating earnings for the U.S. Toy Store division were $10 million for the second quarter versus $24 million for the year-ago quarter. Year-to-date operating earnings for the U.S. Toy Store division were $25 million, down from $43 million for the first six months of last year.

“We were disappointed in the sales performance of our U.S. toy stores and the impact that weak sales had on operating results in the division,” says Toys R Us CEO John Eyler. However, Eyler singled out ToysRUs.com as well as divisions Babies R Us and the international business for “solid sales increases” in the quarter. Sales at Babies “R” Us increased 13% for the quarter over a year ago, while international sales grew 4.2%

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