March 25, 2009, 12:00 AM

Internet sales slumped in Q4 at dELIA’s, but grew 5.1% for the year

DELIA`s reported today a 1.2% decrease in Q4 online sales, while total revenue for the quarter was flat. Store sales grew 6.9% in the quarter, but same-store sales were down 2.0%. Poor timing drove catalog sales in Q4 down 21.6%, the company says.

Bill Briggs

Senior Editor

While some specialty apparel retailers took a heavy beating in the fourth quarter, dELIA’s Inc. managed to keep sales nearly on a par with the previous holiday season, both online and in stores. Only its catalog sales suffered heavily, which the company blamed on poor timing.

For the fourth quarter ended Jan. 31, the multichannel retailer of apparel and accessories for young women and girls, No. 101 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, reported web sales of $26.8 million, down 1.2% from $27.2 million in the same period a year earlier. The web represented 39.9% of the retailer’s sales in the quarter, compared with 40.4% in the year-ago quarter.

Total Q4 sales were essentially flat at $67.2 million in the recent quarter versus $67.1 million a year ago. Same-store sales were down 2.0%. Catalog sales dropped 21.6% to $6.5 million, as the timing of mailings limited opportunities for promotional selling, the company says.

For the full fiscal year ended Jan. 31, online sales increased 5.1% to $83.6 million from $79.5 million. Although dELIA’s increased its store count from 86 to 97 during the year, the web’s share of sales changed little, representing 38.8% of sales for the recent 12-month period, versus 39.4% in the prior year. Same-store sales for the year were up 3%.

Total sales for the fiscal year grew 7.0% to $215.6 million from $201.6 million the prior year. Catalog revenue for the year was down 20.8% to $19.0 million as the company reduced the number of catalogs mailed by 8% to 46.4 million. That excludes catalogs sent by CCS, a direct-to-consumer skateboarding retail unit that dELIA’s sold to Foot Locker Inc. in the fall for $102 million in cash.

The CCS sale helped dELIA’s report net income of $22.6 million for the fourth quarter, despite an operating loss from continuing operations of $873,000. For the year, the company reported net income of $17.2 million, despite a loss from continuing operations of $12.6 million.

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