September 10, 2008, 12:00 AM

Web sales the lone bright spot at PC Universe

PC Universe in Q2 grew web sales by 12.5% to $3.6 million. But the struggling computer and electronics retailer also posted less total revenue and a sharply higher net loss.

The web provided the only financial bright spot in an otherwise dour quarter at PC Universe Inc.

In the quarter ended June 30, PC Universe, No. 366 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, grew web sales by 12.5% to $3.6 million from $3.2 million in the second quarter of 2007. But PC Universe also posted a net loss of $267,000 on total revenue of $6.4 million vs. a net loss of $10,000 on total sales of $9.3 million in the prior year.

For the first six months of the current fiscal year, PC Universe also posted higher web sales, but lower overall revenue. In the six months ended June 30, web sales for PCUniverse.com rose by 15.7% to $8.1 million from $7 million in the previous year. The company also recorded a net loss of $786,000 million on sales of $13.5 million, compared with a net loss of $157,000 on sales of $17.5 million for the prior year’s period.

This year has been a tough one for PC Universe. PC Universe Inc. is still in talks with IBM Credit LLC to renegotiate the terms of a financing agreement. PC Universe has been in default of debt repayment terms since December and IBM has since reduced the computer retailer’s credit line. In January the California Board of Equalization also notified PC Universe of its intent to conduct a multi-year audit over back sales taxes.

To stabilize its business, PC Universe is talking with private investors. “We intend to pursue private financing opportunities during the third quarter of 2008,” PC Universe says in its most recent financial filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. “The company is currently engaged in discussions with potential investors who have expressed interest in funding the Internet expansion opportunities for the company`s products.”

PC Universe also is looking at other opportunities to improve its financial performance, but is realistic about the future. “Our management can provide no assurance that we will be successful in raising any necessary additional capital,” PC Universe says in its most recent financial filing. “These factors, among others, raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue to operate as a going concern.”

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